The disgraced former government advisor, Professor Neil Ferguson, has said that there could be a third nationwide lockdown in January.
On Thursday, England will go into full lockdown with all non-essential shops closed and citizens ordered to stay at home except for buying food, or going to work or school. Strict social distancing rules also prevent the mixing of households, including families.
Measures will be in place until December 2nd, and while the government has said that it hopes restrictions will be lifted by then, ministers have said that it could be extended, with a possible break for Christmas.
Professor Ferguson, whose modelling was instrumental in designing the March lockdown, said on Monday that even with the country having gone through two lockdowns, Englishmen might have to face a third in the New Year.
“We always anticipated that the outcome of this pandemic would be on/off measures… It is quite possible, unfortunately, that we may have to revisit this again come early January or something,” the Imperial College epidemiologist told Times Radio on Monday.
Ferguson had consulted for the UK government on its coronavirus pandemic strategy. But he was forced to resign from his position in May after it was revealed he had twice allowed his married lover to travel to his home, in contravention of his own lockdown rules.
He also suggested that there may not be a break for the holy days.
‘People Will Die’ if They Spend Christmas Together, Says Disgraced Fmr UK Govt Scientist https://t.co/B7JYJLSGlR
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 25, 2020
“It very much depends on how effective measures over the next month are,” Ferguson told the radio show’s host. “If we can drive infection levels down substantially, then we’ll be in a better position to relax things over Christmas than if they’re still at current levels.”
It would not be the first time Ferguson had put a dampener Christmas. Last month, he had said that “people will die” if families get together for the holidays.
Members of Parliament are going to vote on Wednesday whether to approve the lockdown. While several Tory rebels have said they were going to vote against the government, there will likely not be enough to stop the measures from coming into force.
One vocal leader in the rebellion is the chairman of the influential backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour on Sunday, Sir Graham said that he would either abstain or “very likely” vote against it.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 3, 2020
“I’m very concerned indeed about a repetitive cycle of lockdowns. It’s immensely damaging to people’s livelihoods, it’s deeply depressing, it’s causing huge toll in terms of people’s mental health and their family relationships,” Sir Graham said.
The Conservative MP added that the lockdown damaged human rights, saying: “The aspects of the lockdown which actually bother me most would be the extent of the intrusion in what we ordinarily see as fundamental human rights. The freedom of association. The right to a family life. We even have the government, now, telling people who they’re allowed to sleep with — or not, depending on whether they’re deemed to be in an ‘established relationship’ or not.
“If these kinds of measures were being taken in any totalitarian country around the world, we would be denouncing it as a form of evil. And here, the removal of people’s fundamental liberties is going almost without comment.”