It is reported that the government is considering keeping pubs closed across England through May in an effort to expand lockdown rules.
The national lockdown went into effect across England last week, meaning pubs are no longer allowed to open.
At the start of the lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the rules would last through mid-February – and could be extended to late March with a gradual easing.
Now the government should consider keeping the pubs closed until May.
A source said The Sunday Times : “Bank holiday on May 1st is more likely when the pubs reopen.”
There are fears that the difficulty of social distancing in pubs could make them a vector for the spread of the coronavirus.
It is reported that the government is also considering stricter rules – with major changes to support bubbles and exercise regulations and masks that have to work in queues or at work – as well as outdoors.
Professor Devi Sridhar, Chair of Public Health at Edinburgh University, told Times Radio that while lockdowns are “gross” and “catastrophic” to the economy and mental health, they are necessary given the current spread of Covid-19 across the UK are.
In the fight against the new, more transferable variant, which has spread rapidly in many parts of the country, there are lock restrictions in various forms across the UK.
However, Prof. Sridhar said a post-lockdown strategy needs to be put in place to quell the virus that goes into the summer.
She said, “With the numbers we’re at there is no other choice.
“For me it’s a three-phase strategy – first, it’s gross now, it’s catastrophic to the economy and people’s mental health, but a lockdown.”
“Write these numbers down and protect the NHS for the next 12 weeks.”
She added, “When we get into March and hopefully back to low numbers and we get into seasonal changes, be sure to use your testing and tracing and border measures to really suppress them.
“And then, in the summer, instead of taking your foot off the gas and saying,” Let’s open it all up, “actually think,” How do we keep this winter from happening again? “How can we actually protect this low prevalence, put emergency teams in place in the event of a flare-up? Go in, have a quick, sharp week-long lockdown, and get your tests and follow-ups done to clear the virus.”
Professor Devi Sridhar said that if testing and tracking systems, mass testing and support packages for people who self-isolate are not put in place, cases will rise again in the four countries during the summer months.
She told Times Radio: “We are not at the mercy of this virus wherever we need to respond.
“We can determine how this plays out, but we need a little more agency to be more proactive and ahead instead of always behind it.”