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Thu, 29 October 2020

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A Member Of Sage Has Claimed The “Trivial” 10pm Curfew Will Have Little Impact On Slowing Coronavirus Infections

A Member Of Sage Has Claimed The “Trivial” 10pm Curfew Will Have Little Impact On Slowing Coronavirus Infections

Professor John Edmunds warned that "we haven't learned from our mistake" when it comes to bringing in restrictions (Image: Channel 4)

2 min read

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Sage advisory group, has said the impact on the 10pm curfew will be trivial as he warned current measures do not go “anywhere near far enough”.

Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme in a personal capacity, the leading epidemiologist said: “I think it’s welcome that we’ve done something. I think working from home if you can is certainly a good idea.”

But, commenting on plans requiring all pubs and restaurants to close earlier from Thursday, he said that “nobody goes to a restaurant after 10pm anyway”.

“I think that's fairly trivial [...] it’ll have very small impact on the epidemic,” he added. 

“Overall, I don't think that those measures have gone anywhere near far enough. In fact, I don't even think the measures in Scotland have gone far enough.”

Meanwhile, The Times suggests that other scientific advisers have also warned that the 10pm curfew will have little effect.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) reportedly did not model the effect of a 10pm curfew, and the behavioural science sub-group was also not consulted on the change.

Key members of the committee are said to have told the government there is no evidence that the curfew would be effective.

Prof Edmunds continued: “If you think about the measures we put in place back in March [...] We think of the lockdown as a measure but actually it really was a combination of many, many different measures […] A huge raft of measures, actually single measures, all came in at once. 

“And they reduced the reproduction number from about somewhere in the region about 2.7 to about 0.7. So, each one of those individual measures if you break it up is going to have quite a small effect actually on the overall reproduction number...

“In order to stop the epidemic from going any further we have to put a large range of measures in place, a very large range of measures in place.”

The Sage member was also critical of the speed at which the government brought in new measures, claiming  future restrictions will likely “be too late again” to stop cases rising.

“We'll have the worst of both worlds. Because then, to slow the epidemic and bring it back down again… will mean putting the brakes on the epidemic for a very long time.

“And I think that is what we had to do in March, because we didn't react quick enough in March. And so I think that I think we haven't learned from our mistake back then and we're unfortunately, about to repeat it.”

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