Calls for lockdown 'to be tougher' as experts say it is 'too lax'

Experts have said the lockdown is “too lax” and is calling for it to be tougher as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

People in England and the rest of the UK have been told to stay home as the new variant of the coronavirus is causing rates to “get out of hand”.

However, some scientists have said the lockdown is not enough and things must change to keep the cases under control.

Susan Michie, a professor of health psychology at University College London, told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “It’s definitely too slack because if you think about it and compare yourself to March, what do we have now?

“We have the winter season and the virus survived longer in the cold. Also, people spend more time indoors and we know that aerosol transmission that takes place indoors is a very large source of transmission for this virus.

“And second, we have this new variant, which is 50-70% more contagious. They put those two things together. Besides the NHS crisis, we should have a stricter lockdown, no less stringent than in March.”

In addition, Professor Robert West, a participant in the Pandemic Influenza Scientific Group on Behaviors (SPI-B), said the current rules “still allow a lot of activity for the virus to spread”.

Dr. Adam Kucharski, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the new variant of coronavirus should be treated as a “new pandemic within a pandemic”.

In the meantime, the government has told people to stay at home, “otherwise people will die” of coronavirus.

The campaign features a new ad from Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, who says “act like you have it”.

The UK recorded 1,325 deaths and 68,053 new infections in the 24 hours to Friday.

The government’s scientific advisory group, SAGE, announced that after shuffling households in the UK, the R-rate rose to 1.0-1.4 at Christmas.

This means that every 10 people infected pass the virus on to up to 14 others.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a “major incident” in the capital when hospitals struggled to cope with the rate of new patient admissions.

Up to one in 20 Londoners is reported to have the virus.

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