The UK lockdown should continue for the next 12 weeks, according to a public health expert.
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.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he would not speculate on whether lockdown rules could be strengthened.
When asked about the prospect of stricter restrictions, he told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “I don’t want to speculate because the main message is not whether the government will continue to strengthen the rules.
“The most important thing is that people stay home and follow the rules that we have.
“And that’s the most important thing we can do together as a society in terms of the extent of the case impact.”
Mr. Hancock, who videolinked the interview from home, added, “It’s hard, it’s not easy. But if there is something you can do from home and don’t have to go outside of your home, this is what you should do.
“Not only must people obey the letter of the rules, but they must also follow the Spirit and play their part.”