British scientist urges gov’t to tighten COVID-19 rules

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A government scientist has warned that unless the UK government implements further coronavirus restrictions, the country will be at risk from a second national lockdown, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

Professor Susan Michie is the director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London and a member of the scientific pandemic influenza group on behavioral science, which advises the government.

“If more restrictions aren’t done very soon then I think we risk being back into the situation where a national lockdown may be necessary,” she told the Guardian. “Business as usual isn’t an option.”

This included more restrictions on members of the public mixing with each other by closing pubs and restaurants, working from home, and reducing public transport usage.

She said these measures, which have been loosened in recent weeks as the government sought to reopen the economy, “should never have been changed.”

“We are in a total crisis. If we’d had a functioning test, trace-and-isolate system, yes maybe we could have gotten away with a curfew [for pubs and other venues], but without the testing we don’t know where the outbreaks are happening, we can’t manage them – it is like a fire and we have lost our fire engines and out hoses,” she said.

She called for better screening at UK borders and for university teaching to be done online.

“I would say take all those things and review it: if in two weeks time [cases] are still exponentially rising then I think one would have to then look at a full national lockdown,” she said. “But I think we should have a first effort to avoid it.”

The government was forced to deny on Thursday that it considered a two-week national lockdown, after rumors in local media that such a plan was in the works.

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