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Warning of fourth lockdown if restrictions are not carefully lifted

by Mark Fitt Political Journalist
15th Feb 21 4:35 pm

A government scientific advisor has warned of a fourth lockdown if the easing of this one is not “handled properly.”

Professor Stephen Reicher, who sits on the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), has said that the government must have a more successful track and trace system, to prevent further lockdowns.

Professor Reicher was asked if there is any danger of another lockdown if the emergence from this one is not handled properly.

He warned, “Of course there is.

“In the same way that we didn’t want a second lockdown, we didn’t want a third lockdown. We’ve repeated the same mistake time after time after time.”

He said lockdowns are a “failure of robust and routine measures,” and said that the government should have a more successful track and trace system.

He added, “We can’t do everything at once, therefore we’ve got to think seriously about what our priorities are.

“And if we do open everything at once the danger is we have to close everything at once.

“It certainly seems to be that the priority is to get schools open, we need to make sure that we can make schools open safely before we think of going back to the pub.”

Professor Steven Riley, who is also a member of the SPI-M modelling group warned over the weekend that the UK could see a third wave if the lockdown were to be lifted too early.

Professor Riley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “No vaccine is perfect. We are certainly going to be in the situation where we can allow more infection in the community but there is a limit.

“I think scientists are genuinely worried. We don’t want to show that it is an excellent but not perfect vaccine by having another large wave in the UK.

“Nearly 20% of the UK population is 65-years-old or older. If you do some simple back of the envelope (calculations) for a vaccine that is very good but not perfect, there is the potential for another really substantial wave.

“That is not where we want to go in the short term

“If for some reason we were to choose to just pretend it wasn’t here any more, then there is the potential to go back to a wave that is a similar size to the one that we are in now.”

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