Cases still too high to reduce distancing to one metre, according to independent SAGE member

22 June 2020, 11:40

By Seán Hickey

A public health expert said that the UK is not ready to reduce social distancing to one metre, as coronavirus cases are too high.

"I don't think the level of cases is low enough" said Dr Gabriel Scally, President of the Epidemiology and Public Health section of the Royal Society of Medicine and a member of the independent SAGE group, which monitors the coronavirus pandemic and recommends how the UK moves forward, similarly to the government advisory SAGE committee.

Nick Ferrari began the conversation with the government plans to announce relaxed measures tomorrow which will see social distancing being reduced to one metre.

"I'm not going to be enormously pleased because I don't think the time is right" said Dr Scally. He pointed out to Nick that there is currently 3,000 new confirmed cases of coronavirus per day and yet "we're only finding a minority of those." In which case, he was of the opinion that the UK cannot move forward in it's coronavirus response.

"I would much prefer if the test and tracing system was working – it's not as we know and won't be fully working 'til September, so I don't think things are in the right place for any real substantial relaxation."

The independent SAGE member told Nick that now is not the right time to reduce social distancing
The independent SAGE member told Nick that now is not the right time to reduce social distancing. Picture: PA

Nick argued that "we have to balance the economy" and waiting until it is safer to do so in September might be far too late. Dr Scally acknowledged this but noted that "the distance issue is a big thing and at two metres the chance of spread is ten times" and we have already seen some easing of lockdown with two metre distancing still in place.

"The World Health Organisation is contented with one metre" Nick rebuked, wondering why the independent SAGE member felt maintaining two metres was paramount.

Dr Scally argued that "the numbers have come really well down" under two metre restrictions and there is potential for numbers to rise again if this is abolished.

"If people are going to be in restaurants and in pubs for a period of time, well that's not so good either" the independent SAGE member warned, in sharing the difference in transmission rate between gathering indoors versus gathering outdoors.

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

The Foreign Secretary was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

'What's the difference between a Russian invasion and incursion?' Nick grills minister

Exclusive
Julian Richer appeared on Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on Wednesday.

Business leader and former Tory donor 'couldn't believe you could buy access to ministers'

Exclusive
Cycling laws are due to change, years after the Charlie Alliston case

Killer cyclists face prosecution under historic new law welcomed by campaigners

Cyclist doesn't use cycle lanes 'because they're stupid'

Nick Ferrari attacks cyclist who doesn't use cycle lanes 'because they're stupid'

The Transport Secretary was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Covid travel rules 'kind of back to good old days', Transport Secretary says

Katharine Birbalsingh insisted strict uniform codes are needed

Social mobility tsar: Pupils will bring knives to school if you don't enforce uniform code

The distraught caller was speaking to Nick Ferrari

'I can't afford my heating': Caller bursts into tears as cost of living crisis laid bare

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng spoke to LBC this morning

'Less than half my office is back at work': Business Sec Kwasi Kwarteng reveals in WFH row

Rachel Reeves spoke to Nick Ferrari this morning

Shadow Chancellor: Tax North Sea gas firms to help struggling families

Exclusive
Lord Stuart Rose, chairman of Asda, has welcomed the return to the office.

'Hallelujah': New Asda Chairman Lord Rose hails WFH end and says 'forget about Covid'

Nick Ferrari hit out at the former Tory MP

Nick Ferrari: It is shameful that Christian Wakeford defected to Labour with no by-election

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said Gary Neville "brings life to politics".

'He brings life to politics': Andy Burnham welcomes Gary Neville to the Labour team

Exclusive
Andy Burnham has said he cannot see how the Prime Minister can survive the partygate scandal.

Isn’t it time to go Boris? Andy Burnham tells LBC ‘I don’t see how the PM can survive’

Call Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham | Watch LIVE from 9am

Call Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham | Watch Again

James Heappey has said he is giving the PM the benefit of the doubt.

Boris 'deserves the benefit of the doubt' over partygate scandal, minister insists

Mr Heappey said Prince Andrew had been 'moved from public view'

Prince Andrew's Epstein and Maxwell links ‘horrifically ill-advised,' minister tells LBC