More lockdowns are inevitable thanks to Government policy, experts have warned.
That was the message from a group of scientists who have set up a rival SAGE group, the government’s scientific advisory board.
They say the current approach is “potentially dangerous”.
The scientists are led by Sir David King, who is the government’s former chief scientific adviser.
Evidence must show that COVID-19 transmission is controlled before measures are relaxed.
And they do not think the current government approach to fighting coronavirus is the right one.
In a report, the experts wrote: “Without suppression (of coronavirus) we shall inevitably see a more rapid return of local epidemics resulting in more deaths and potentially further partial or national lockdowns, with the economic costs that will incur.
“The Government should take all necessary measures to control the virus through suppression and not simply managing its spread.
“Evidence must show that COVID-19 transmission is controlled before measures are relaxed.”
Their warning of further lockdowns came as the scientists slammed the “ambivalence” of the government approach.
They do not believe that “flattening the curve” to help the NHS cope is enough on its own.
“We find this attitude counter-productive and potentially dangerous,” the group said.
More lockdowns could come in the future, the Independent Sage group said.
The answer is mass contract tracing.
Professor of Virology at UCL Deenan Pillay said the UK could have suppressed coronavirus within three weeks.
That’s if there had been strong systems in place to track new cases.
He said: “The countries that have done (contact tracing) at speed have shown that they could suppress the virus within about 3 weeks and get the deaths right down.”
“You must always find the virus, every case, test for them if you can but if you can’t, trace (and) isolate.”
Why did contact tracing end?
Co-director of the Newcastle University Centre for Excellence in Regulatory Science Professor Allyson Pollock said: “It was a puzzle as to why contact tracing stopped on March 12.
“We were given two reasons – that it wasn’t effective and there weren’t sufficient resources.”
And she said an army of local contact tracers across the country could do the task.
They could potentially come from the 750,000 volunteers who signed up to help fight the virus.
The group also criticised the government’s Stay Alert slogan, saying it was confusing.
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