Coronavirus news live – latest UK updates: London still busy on first day of Tier 2 lockdown rules as Manchester debate rages on – Sky News
Here’s an interesting Q&A with our presenter Gillian Joseph and senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter, Bharat Pankhania. She put some good questions to him…
At what point would the government look at a national lockdown?
I don’t think the government has got the desire to have a national lockdown, no matter what R number is – or as I prefer to say it, the number of new cases, because the R number can be very imprecise.
But essentially we really do need some drastic action. But it has to be nationwide.
A little patchwork quilt of Liverpool in severe lockdown and next-door Manchester not in severe lockdown really won’t work.
Why are you so against the tier system even though different areas are experience such different levels of the outbreak? Doesn’t it make sense?
I would love for it to be as you describe, but we are a highly populated, high-density nation, so to be truthful, what happens in Manchester happens in Liverpool, and what happens in Liverpool also happens in Manchester given time.
Therefore because it is so difficult to segregate little areas of the UK, we need to suppress the cases nationwide and then sort out our homework. We haven’t really sorted out our homework, for example, by giving regions the autonomy to oversee the testing and tracing.
Do you understand Andy Burnham’s reluctance to enter strict measures in Greater Manchester?
Yes, what Andy Burnham is referring to is that this stop-start and then back to normal isn’t going to work and I totally agree, it’s not going to work. We are wasting a lot of money and heartache and stress because we are not sorting out our homework, and the homework is: sort out your testing mechanisms, and your tracing mechanisms.
And by the way, by the time you have a huge number of cases, tracing becomes almost not doable.
We are verging on our tracing system not working even if it’s sorted out, because of the large number of cases.
So you’re advocating a national circuit-breaker to give us some respite to sort this all out?
With provisos, because a national lockdown without provisos is symbolic, meaningless, expensive and a waste of time, money and a lot of effort.
So my provisos are, whilst you’re in shutdown mode, you sort out the homework. And the most important bit of that homework is that you inculcate among all people that infection control is very important. So when you come out of those lockdown measures, you exercise extreme caution.
If you don’t have your personal prevention, you go back to square one.