National lockdown ‘not necessary’, says environment secretary
George Eustice said a national lockdown to control coronavirus is not necessary because “the measures we’re taking are certainly holding it back” and scientists are unsure how much it could achieve in two weeks.
Speaking on Times Radio, the Environment Secretary said the tiered system has held back the natural R rate of the virus of between 2.7 and 3 to the current level of between 1.4 and 1.5.
Mr Eustice said: “Sage themselves, when they posited that (a circuit-breaker) as one option, highlighted that it was uncertain how much it would achieve in two weeks and whether it would be enough, and also that there would be lots of negative consequences of such an intervention.”
Mr Eustice was unable to give a timeframe for how long tiered restrictions are expected to last, but said he believes that local lockdowns have been working.
He said: “We do know that in some of those areas that have gone for this restriction, that the R rate has started to come down.
“The difficulty with this is we know what happened in the last lockdown, but that was in March and April as we’re going into spring and summer, and this virus, like many viruses, is very seasonal, and wet winter nights and days are quite conducive to the spread of the virus.”