Independent SAGE member: "England is lacking ambition to reduce coronavirus"

29 July 2020, 16:46

By Fiona Jones

Independent SAGE member and public health expert Professor Martin McKee told LBC why England is "lacking the ambition" to effectively reduce coronavirus cases.

Professor Martin McKee firstly clarified concerns of a "second wave" is incorrect as the term describes the behaviour of the Spanish Flu of 1918, which is "a very different virus."

Professor McKee explained that the world can expect "different waves at different times in different places. There are a whole series of ups and downs.

"As you're waiting to close down, cases go up, as you close down, they fall, as you open up if you haven't got everything sorted out they come back again."

However, while Ireland and Scotland have got their domestic cases to "almost nothing", England has not managed this feat.

Professor McKee said while there is an unclear answer why, his impression is that England "is lacking ambition" to reduce cases.

Independent SAGE member tells LBC "England is lacking ambition to reduce coronavirus"
Independent SAGE member tells LBC "England is lacking ambition to reduce coronavirus". Picture: PA/LBC

"We could do much have a fully functioning find, isolate and support system.

"First of all we still have a tracing system which is still fragmented with pillars, not always communicating properly with one another. It's getting better but we shouldn't have been waiting until now for it to all happen," he said.

Amongst a list of factors, he cited that there is "very little support" for those isolating, such as financial compensation, which is something the independent SAGE committee has called for "time and time again."

LBC's Tom Swarbrick asked if testing for airport arrivals should be introduced, which could help combat our transmission.

The professor clarified that this is linked to support, as people returning to the UK will have to isolate for a few days before receiving their results.

"What other countries have done is...people are put up in accommodation while they're waiting for a period of time to find out if their tests come back negative," he explained, adding that tests are not absolutely accurate yet, and the virus sometimes presents itself days after returning.