Lord Sumption Brands Lockdown ‘Thoroughly Inhumane’

WALSALL, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 04: A Covid-19 testing site direction sign and a government pandemic poster in the Leamore area of Walsall as mass testing is started to track down a South African coronavirus variant found in the area on February 04, 2021 in Walsall, United Kingdom. Health authorities …
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Former British Supreme Court Justice Lord Jonathan Sumption has branded lockdowns “thoroughly inhumane”, saying the policy comes at a “cost” of the misery of millions of people.

Last week, reports suggested that Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak was concerned that government scientists had been “moving the goalposts” for the criteria for ending lockdown, from hospitalisations, to vaccinations, to case numbers.

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who now chairs the government’s health committee, wants restrictions to remain in place until cases fall to 1,000 a day.

Lord Sumption, a vocal lockdown critic, told LBC radio on Monday that Mr Hunt’s suggestion was an “absurdity”.

“We can’t have zero COVID,” said the former Supreme Court justice, who has compared police overreach in enforcing lockdown laws to a “police state”.

Continuing, he remarked: “There have only been two cases in which infectious disease has been eradicated entirely, or virtually entirely. Smallpox took two centuries after the invention of a totally effective vaccine to disappear.

“Simply saying that we want to eliminate the virus altogether or reduce it below 1,000 cases is, I think, a completely unbalanced and fanatical approach.”

He added: “The cost of this has got to be remembered. Not just the cost in economic terms, but in human terms.”

Sumption then outlined the story of one woman who suffered a stroke and then caught coronavirus in hospital, dying at the age of 74 in isolation. “Her life should have been full of joy, of grandchildren, of meeting people, and of stimulation. Instead of which, her last year was spent in utter wretchedness and misery, isolated from everything. Alone.

“That is an inhuman story. It’s been repeated millions of times around the country.”

Reports circulated last year of elderly Britons in care homes being denied contact with their loved ones over the risk of transmission of coronavirus, with many seniors begging for restrictions be lifted so they could be with their families.

Sumption said: “The policy of lockdown is a thoroughly inhumane policy which is due to one-track minds that can only think about deaths and not about life.”

Last month, the former senior judge warned of the costs to lockdown — not just economic, but social and educational, saying: “We are in the process of turning a public health crisis into an economic, social, and educational disaster.”

There has been a rise in reported cases of youth mental health issues since the beginning of the pandemic, with one doctor describing that before coronavirus children in mental health crises were arriving at his Accident and Emergency unit once or twice a week; now, that was once or twice a day. Alcohol-related deaths have also risen to the highest figures in recorded history.

Lord Sumption also dismissed the suggestion that new strains of the novel coronavirus should influence whether the country should remain in lockdown, telling LBC host Nick Ferrari: “Variants have always been a problem about viruses.

“They spontaneously mutate…and we’re not just concerned with the South African variant. There will be many other variants.

“Unless we lock ourselves down forever, this is something we are simply going to have to live with.”

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