Britain needs three-week lockdown immediately to control Covid, warns top government advisor
The UK government must introduce a three-week lockdown as soon as possible to get the second wave of coronavirus under control, a top advisor has said
Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of health research-charity the Wellcome Trust and member of SAGE, said that introducing a national three-week lockdown is crucial to stopping Covid-19 cases from getting out of control.
Farrar added that the current local restrictions would not be enough to contain the virus.
“The current tiered restrictions will not bring the transmission rates down sufficiently or prevent the continued spread of the virus,” he said.
“A three-week period of nationally increased restrictions, with the right levels of financial support, will allow us to reset before winter, stop transmission spiralling, protect and prepare health services, give time to get the test-trace-isolate systems fully functional, and save lives,” he said.
Speaking to Sky News, Farrar said he was in favour of "going earlier" with lockdowns. "I think when you go earlier, the restrictions can be less draconian and you can have a bigger impact on transmission," he said.
"And critically get that R value down to 1 and below 1."
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told Sky News' Sophy Ridge that he did not support calls for a new national lockdown, a so-called 'circuit breaker'.
"It would seem to me to be an error to try to impose on every part of the country the same level of restriction, when we know the disease is spreading more intensively and quickly and some parts of the country," Gove said.
Farrar said that he disagreed with Gove, and that a new national lockdown should be seen in the context of how close we may be to achieving a vaccine.
"I think the best way of reducing transmission and getting the country back to where we were, perhaps at the beginning of September, and then making sure we have test, track and isolate working properly.
"I do believe that vaccines will be available in the first quarter of next year. I do believe that monoclonal antibodies to treat patients and save lives will be available in the coming months.
"It's with that context that we need to reduce transmissions now."