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UK exiting lockdown with higher deaths than we ‘did when we entered lockdown’

An expert has warned the UK over exiting lockdown despite a high number of deaths, with strong fears restrictions are being eased far too soon.

Speaking on Sky New’s Sophy Ridge programme, Professor Devi Sridhar, said, “If your objective is to contain the virus, to drive numbers down and to try to in a sense get rid of it so no-one is exposed to it, then it is not the right measure right now to open up.

“It’s a big risk and gamble for exiting lockdown with a larger number of deaths than we did when we actually entered lockdown months back.”

She said on Twitter, “We’re exiting lockdown with a larger number of deaths than we did when we actually entered lockdown.”

She added, “Countries that are opening up from lockdown have reduced daily infections to the low hundreds.

“England currently stands at 8,000 daily infections.”

Professor John Edmunds of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, raised concerns over the government’s easing of the lockdown.

He told the Guardian newspaper, “If you look at it internationally, it’s a very high level of incidence.”

Professor Edmunds said, “The issue is, clearly there’s a need to try and get the economy restarted and people back to their jobs and so on, and also there’s a social and a mental health need to allow people to meet with their friends and families.

“I think many of us would prefer to see the incidence driven down to lower levels because that then means that we have fewer cases occurring before we relax the measures.​

“I think at the moment, with relatively high incidence and relaxing the measures and also with an untested track and trace system, I think we are taking some risk here.”

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Ridge, the UK “is making steady progress” but is in “a sensitive moment.”

He added, “We can’t just stay in lockdown forever. We have got to transition.”

Raab said, if there is an “uptick” in more coronavirus cases, then the government will have to take further measures again and target the virus wherever it may appear.”

Referring to the deputy chief medical officer, he told Sky News, “As Jonathan Van-Tam… has said, with a precarious moment we can ease up, we can protect life, but also livelihoods, get life back to something resembling normal, but we must monitor it very carefully.

“If there is any up-tick in the number of cases, if we stop making the progress I described, we will have to take further measures again and target the virus wherever it may appear.”

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