SAGE member pours cold water on government plans to quarantine people coming to UK

22 May 2020, 08:41 | Updated: 22 May 2020, 09:25

By Adrian Sherling

A member of scientific panel SAGE has told LBC that the government's plan to quarantine people coming into the UK will not be effective in stopping the spread of coronavirus.

Home Secretary Priti Patel will today announce a programme where any person arriving in the country will be forced to quarantine for 14 days to try to keep coronavirus under control.

However, Professor John Edmunds - a member of the advisory group SAGE - poured cold water on those plans.

He told Nick Ferrari: "Quarantining people coming into the country really matters when of if we get our incidence really low - so if our incidence is much lower than other countries then it makes some sense to do that.

"As it is, our incidence is actually quite high, so people coming into the country are unlikely to cause much of a problem at the moment."

A SAGE member told Nick Ferrari that quarantining won't work at the moment
A SAGE member told Nick Ferrari that quarantining won't work at the moment. Picture: LBC / PA

Professor Edmunds also said that schools need to go back gradually to avoid a rise in the spread of the disease.

He added: "Schoolchildren are significantly lower risk of severe disease from Covid. That's the good news.

"Where there is still significant uncertainty is whether they can transmit to others, so I think we have to be very careful about opening schools.

"Letting all students go back all at once would be potentially quite dangerous, so I think we have to do it gradually.

"The evidence isn't great, but it looks like younger children are less risk at risk of infection than older children - and perhaps less at risk of spreading the infection than older children.

"So it makes some sense, epidemiologically, to open up Primary Schools before Secondary Schools."

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