An expert has warned that Boris Johnson’s government may have “already exceeded the absolute limits” of easing lockdown restrictions.
Professor Sir Jeremy Farrar the Wellcome Trust director and who is also a member of the government SAGE advisory committee, said on Sunday that there are “worrying signs” coronavirus infection rates could be on the rise.
Writing in the Observer Professor Farrar wrote, “The gradual uptick in cases has shown us we’ve now reached, if not already exceeded, the absolute limits of easing restrictions.
“The R value, which tells you how many people will get the virus if in contact with an infected person, is close to 1. There are worrying signs that we’re in danger of heading in the wrong direction.
“Most urgently, we need to ramp up testing. We are not where we need to be. We must improve contact tracing, so we’re identifying more cases and providing better, faster data locally.
“We need to make it much easier for everyone to get tested, including those who have been in contact with cases or think they might be infected, whether they have symptoms or not.”
Former government advisor, Professor Neil Ferguson suggested that ministers will need to “row back on the relaxation of restrictions,” which will allow a full-time return for schools.
Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England also echoed Professor Farrar’s sentiment and warned that England has “probably reached near the limit or the limits” of what can be done to reopen society safely.
Last week the Prime Minister stopped further easing of the lockdown and said the government must no “squeeze that brake pedal.”
Johnson said, “The prevalence of the virus in the community, in England, is likely to be rising for the first time since May.
“That means until August 15 at the earliest casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and the remaining close-contact services must remain closed.
“Indoor performances will not resume, pilots of larger gatherings in sports venues and conference centres will not take place, and wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted.”