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The Government must follow the science when it comes to easing lockdown

May 30, 2020 1:42 PM

Responding to reports that several members of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group have warned of the risk of easing the lockdown in England on Monday 1 June.

Several key members of SAGE have gone public with concerns that Ministers are no longer following the science. Measures to lift the lockdown announced in the last week, will go ahead on the 1 June despite the coronavirus threat level remaining at four on the governments own threat assessment scheme. According to the governments rules a threat level of four requires the continuation of lockdown measures. The UK remains at a level of four because of the epidemic is in general circulation and there is a high level of transmission, though the rate of transmission is not rising exponentially. The rate of increase in transmission, often referred to as the R number, is still perilously close to 1 with the number of infections daily only falling slowly. Against this backdrop the government wishes to press ahead with reopening schools, and allowing limited social gatherings of up to six people outside. With the test, trace, isolate system that we need to keep people safe not yet fully functional and certainly not proven.

Erewash MP Maggie Throup said, she was "trained to come to an evidence-based conclusion based on the available information or data at the time". These leading scientists have voiced their concerns that the evidence and data suggests we should not be relaxing the lockdown yet and that, to do so is to risk a second peak, by allowing R to rise above 1 with an already high level of infections. A second peak that would probably require a more prolonged and disruptive second lockdown to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed.

Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

"The decision by key members of SAGE to go public with their concerns shows that Ministers are no longer following the science.

"The NHSX app is delayed for an unknown period. For seven days straight the Government has been unable to provide even basic data about the number of people tested. On top of these failings, public health messaging has been badly undermined as people see it's one rule for the Tory elite and another for everyone else.

"Given this chaos, measures to lift lockdown appear premature. At every stage the Liberal Democrats have been clear that the Government must listen to the experts and follow the science. Protecting public health and tackling the spread of the virus must always be the Government's number one priority - many are questioning whether this remains the case."

Erewash Liberal Democrats Parliamentary Spokesperson James Archer, himself a professional scientist and engineer, added this:

"The government must follow its own rules and follow the science. Lifting the lockdown prematurely to distract the focus from the poor judgement of the governments most senior advisor is playing politics with peoples lives."