A member of the UK government’s SAGE committee says that even the Scottish ban on household visits does not go far enough in halting the epidemic.
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Closing bars and restaurants at 10pm will have a “trivial” effect on the spread of coronavirus and even Scotland’s ban on visiting other households does not go far enough, according to a top scientist on the UK Government’s advisory committee.
Professor John Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, welcomed that the governments had “done something” but said curfews on bars and restaurants was likely to have a minimal effect.
He said: “Overall I don’t think that the measures have gone anywhere near far enough. In fact I don’t even think the measures in Scotland have gone far enough.”
He told the BBC: “I think working from home if you can is certainly a good idea. I think that the measures in terms of closing bars an hour early and restaurants at 10pm, I mean, nobody goes to a restaurant after 10 anyway, that’s fairly trivial. It will have a small impact on the epidemic.”
The new restrictions on bar closures come into force in Scotland at 10pm on Thursday, and on Friday in England. Visits to other households are banned across Scotland from Friday. In England local lockdown measures in many areas forbid indoor gatherings too but there is no countrywide ban.
Edmunds, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said action had not been taken quickly enough in March and that “mistake” is about to be repeated.
Speaking in a personal capacity on the Today programme, he said: “I suspect we will see very stringent measures coming in place throughout the UK at some point, but it will be too late again.
“We will have let the epidemic double and double and double again until we do take those measures.”
“And then we’ll have the worst of both worlds. Because to slow the epidemic and bring it back down again, all the way down to somewhere close to where it is now or where it was in the summer will mean putting the brakes on the epidemic for a very long time, very hard – which is what we had to do in March because we didn’t react quick enough.”
He added: “I think that we haven’t learned from our mistake back then and we’re unfortunately about to repeat it.”
News – 10pm pub curfew will have ‘trivial’ effect on spread of Covid says top scientist