In news that will perhaps shock nobody and everybody at the same time, it has been revealed that the government’s scientific advisors called for a short lockdown to halt the advance of Covid last month.
The papers which were released after Monday (12th October)’s press conference, contain minutes from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage). In the minutes it shows that the advisors had called for the immediate introduction of a short national lockdown three weeks ago.
The papers also showed that the scientists had suggested the banning of all contact inside homes with members of other households, closing all bars, restaurants, cafes, indoor gyms and hairdressers and requiring all university teaching to take place online.
It should be noted that of all the measures proposed, just one-advising those who can work from home to do so-was implemented by the government at the time.
Most ominously for the government and the populous, the minutes show that Sage warned that if the government didn’t act now to reduce cases, it was likely that there would be large epidemic with disastrous consequences.
Whilst, there were initially talks of a circuit breaker lockdown following the initial Sage meeting, nothing came from that and instead, the UK went ahead with a three tier system that was announced on Monday.
But that system seems to have created more confusion, with the PM being accused of lacking clarity and most importantly, not following the science any longer. Since late on Monday when the documents were released, calls have arisen demanding the PM explain his decision making, and explain why after months of claiming to be following the science, it does seem that for all intents and purposes as though he has abandoned it.
Though members of the government have defended the PM’s announcement, with Communities Secretary Mr Jenrick stating “With the three tier system we now have a very clear and consistent framework across the whole country, so people can understand approximately what the rate of infection is in their own area.”
The government finds itself stuck at a crossroads, wanting to keep the economy afloat and away from another potentially dangerous recession, whilst also trying to not let more people die. Elements of the government who favour a laissez faire approach are at odds with the public who favour a tougher policy on restrictions.
Whatever comes next, the government must act decisively, or it will continue to appear unconfident and weak.