British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government was criticized on Tuesday after the discovery that it ignored, three weeks ago, the scientists’ advice to impose a brief confinement to curb the contagion of covid-19, whose second wave affects the country today.
Published on Monday night, the minutes of a meeting of the Group of Scientific Advisers for Emergencies (SAGE) show that scientists on September 21 recommended the application of a new confinement of one, or two, weeks to “break the circuit “of transmissions.
He also advised the “immediate” application of measures such as the closing of bars and restaurants, the prohibition of receiving other people at home and that all university classes take place online.
The Johnson administration waited until Monday, October 12, to impose a new three-tier system of restrictions, in which only the last will entail restaurant closings. At the moment, the extreme measure is applied only in the Liverpool region, which records an average of 600 cases of covid-19 for every 100,000 inhabitants.
“I have no confidence, no one has confidence, that measures at level three will be enough to control the virus,” warned England’s top medical advisor, Chris Whitty, when he attended a joint press conference with the prime minister.
The statement sparked a warning, and the crisis situation deepened on Tuesday.
“I was quite alarmed when I saw the SAGE minutes during the night,” opponent Labor Party spokesman Jonathan Ashworth told BBC television.
Johnson “always says he acts in accordance with science, but he evidently rejected important scientific recommendations,” he criticized.
With the highest number of covid-19 deaths in Europe, almost 43,000, the UK is struggling to avoid a second confinement of catastrophic economic consequences, following the historic recession caused by the first confinement.
“The Prime Minister has to find a balance, protecting people’s lives (…) while preserving things that matter to us like education, keeping as many jobs as possible and ensuring that other health risks , such as psychological health and other diseases, are not careless as a result of a second confinement, “Minister of Local Communities Robert Jenrick told BBC radio on Tuesday.
Some MPs from the Johnson Conservative Party criticized the restrictions imposed with the new system on three levels because they considered them too harsh.