Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended his position in not introducing a circuit breakers across England after SAGE advised him to do so.
Previously Johnson said that he will follow the science, but he told the House of Commons on Wednesday that he will not “close businesses” in areas where the infection rate is low.
He said that a regional system will bring down the virus rates which will “avoid the misery of another national lockdown.”
The government’s scientific advisory group recommended that there should be a circuit breaker as early as 21 September.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused the government of “abandoning the science.” Sir Keir also back the two or three weeks lockdown.
The Labour leader told MPs, “On May 11, the Prime Minister said that the government’s Covid strategy, and I quote him “will be governed entirely by the science.”
He continued, “On September 21, the government’s own scientific advisers, Sage, gave very clear advice – they said ‘a package of interventions including a circuit-breaker will be needed to prevent an exponential rise in cases.
“Why did the Prime Minister reject that advice and abandon the science?”
The Prime Minister said, “We will do whatever it takes to fight this virus and to defeat it. ‘But since he [Starmer] quotes the Sage advice I might just remind him that on page one it says that all the interventions considered have associated costs in terms of health and wellbeing and that policymakers will need to consider announcements and economic impacts and the associated harms alongside this epidemiological assessment.
“And the advice that I have today is that if we do the regional approach that commended itself to the House, and indeed to the right honourable gentleman [Starmer] on Monday, we can bring down the arc and we can bring down the virus.”
Sir Keir said that Johnson is “behind the curve again,” and he told MPs that leaders in high risk areas, such as Bolton back Labour’s plan and not the Prime Ministers.
Sir Keir said that the chances of Johnson backing a “circuit break” over the next two weeks “are about 80%, so “why doesn’t he do it now?”
Johnson said, “I rule out nothing, of course, in combating the virus but we’re going to do it with the local, regional approach that can drive down and will drive down the virus if it is properly implemented.”