Boris Johnson's scientific advisers warned that his new Covid-19 restrictions will have little effect
- Boris Johnson's latest attempt to control the rapid spread of coronavirus infections by placing a curfew on pubs was not recommended by his scientific advisers and will not be enough to contain the virus, experts have warned.
- Professor John Edmunds, who advises the government on its coronavirus response, said new measures including the move to shut pubs and restaurants at 10 would not go 'anywhere near far enough' in containing the virus.
- Health officials recorded 4,926 new cases across the UK by Tuesday, up by 558 compared to the day before. They also recorded a further 26 new deaths.
- The SAGE group of advisers, which includes multiple infectious diseases experts and other scientists, had not modelled the effect of a 10pm curfew before Boris Johnson introduced it.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Boris Johnson new coronavirus restrictions, which place a curfew on pubs and restaurants was not recommended by his own scientific advisers and will not be enough to contain the virus, experts have warned.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE)group of scientists, which advises the government, had not modelled the effect of a 10pm curfew, the Times reported on Wednesday.
The policy was reportedly copied from Belgium, in response to evidence that drunk people were helping to spread the virus.
However, key members of the committee said there was no evidence it would be effective.
"Closing early will have some impact but I don't think it will be anything like enough, even with the other measures announced, to stop the increase," said Professor Robert West of University College London, a health psychologist and member of SAGE.
West said that evidence suggested people arrived at the pub with a fixed amount they wanted to drink, meaning that the changes were unlikely to have a big impact. He said evidence suggested "that there is a drinking equilibrium — people have an amount they want to drink."
Professor John Edmunds, who also sits on SAGE, said on Monday that new measures including the move to shut pubs and restaurants at 10 would not go "anywhere near far enough" in containing the virus.
Health officials recorded 4,926 new cases across the UK by Tuesday, up by 558 compared to the day before. They also recorded a further 26 new deaths.
Edmunds urged the government to introduce more stringent measures and said even Scotland — where household mixing has been banned — had probably not done enough to contain the virus.
"We have to put stringent measures in place," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. He warned that Boris Johnson risked repeating mistakes from March when he was criticised for introducing a nationwide lockdown too late.
"We will have let the epidemic double, and double, and double again until we take those measures," Edmunds said.
"To slow the epidemic and bring it back down again, somewhere close to where it is now, will mean putting the brakes on the epidemic for a very long time, very hard — which is what we had to do in March, because we didn't react quick enough in March."
"And so I think we haven't learnt from our mistake back then and we're unfortunately about to repeat it."
Boris Johnson told parliament on Tuesday that the curfew measure could be effective. "What we've seen from the evidence is that, alas, the spread of the disease does tend to happen later at night after more alcohol has been consumed," he told MPs.
A Downing Street spokesman told the Times: "Belgium has seen a decline in its case numbers since early closure measures were introduced."
Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.
Get the best of our site emailed to you daily: click here.
Also from Business Insider South Africa:
- aQuellé pulled from shelves at Makro, Game - as Food Lover's also cuts ties with ‘cult’ companies
- Laws apply to McDonald's too, SA court says, as it shuts down an outlet
- More than half a million South Africans have now downloaded the Covid-19 tracing app
- You’ll get to use 75% of your pension to cover a loan – for any purpose – if the DA gets its way
- The World Economic Forum's flagship Davos summit might not take place at all next year - report