A former chief scientist has said the government’s easing of the lockdown is “extraordinarily risky” as the test and trace programme is not good enough.
Sir David King who chairs the scientific group Independent Sage said the test and trace programme is not yet good enough to prevent future virus outbreaks.
On Tuesday Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in the Commons that pubs and restaurants will reopen on 4 July, Sir David said, this is “not a wise move” as it is “extraordinarily risky.”
He told Sky News, “It is like travelling in the dark.
“If we take the long view, we know that the winter is a likely period when the virus takes off again. We must therefore aim to completely get rid of the virus from this country before the winter.”
The former chief scientist added, “If we move too quickly, which is what I think is being proposed here, the risk of running into a second wave becomes very significant.”
Health leaders have also warned in an open letter, that “local flare ups are increasingly likely and a second wave is a real risk.”
The letter was signed by the presidents of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Surgeons, GPs and Nursing, plus the chairman of the British Medical Association.
The letter said, “The available evidence indicates that local flare ups are increasingly likely and a second wave a real risk.”
They are urging government Ministers to get ahead of the “curve.” They added, “The job now is not only to deal urgently with the wide-ranging impacts of the first phase of the pandemic, but to ensure that the country is adequately prepared to contain a second phase.”
Professor John Edmunds of the official Sage group (the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) who advise the government, warned the reducing the two-metre rule is “risky.”
He told Radio 4 Today programme, “The easement of the restriction on two metres and allowing people to meet inside is also going to change the nature of the contact to be slightly more risky, so it is likely to have a double effect.
“There is a risk that transmission will take off again, so we have to be really vigilant, and this is where the Test and Trace system needs to be really working well.”