A member of the British government’s scientific advisory panel has implied that the prime minister’s timetable for lifting lockdown could be set back if Britons take advantage of any rare warm Spring weather and undertake allegedly risky business such as going to the beach or meeting up with friends.
Professor Calum Semple, who sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said people gathering represented a “big worry” for his colleagues and the government, claiming it could undo the progress made by Britons spending a year under lockdown.
“Really, we do urge people to take care. We’re just not quite there on the road map — we can’t take a short cut with people’s health,” Professor Semple told Sky News on Sunday.
He added that while going outside for “exercise” is still allowed in twos, so-called “clustering”, the outbreaks expert said — depicting “large parties on the beach or parks for picnics” and other such “inadvertent activities” — could drive up the cases of the virus.
Semple said that “it just takes a few families…. and we can kick off outbreaks,” adding: “We’re so close but we could blow it by breaking the rules now.”
The SAGE advisor’s claim that Britons were on the brink of causing more clusters of infections come as the health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced that some 20 million Britons had had their first dose of the vaccine against Chinese coronavirus, with new evidence suggesting that even a single dose reduces hospital admission by 90 per cent.
220,000+ Brits Sign Petition Against Vaccine Passports, Forcing Debate in Parliament https://t.co/lUKOm2eWfD
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 27, 2021
Further, his remarks that “large parties on the beach” could drive outbreaks contradict verbal evidence given to the House of Commons just two weeks ago by Professor Mark Woolhouse, who belongs to a SAGE subgroup, when he said that the “virus is not transmitted well outdoors”. Woolhouse also confirmed that, specifically, there had been no outbreaks linked to crowded beaches during good weather.
“Over the summer, we were treated to all this on the television news and pictures of crowded beaches and there was an outcry about this.
“There were no outbreaks linked to crowded beaches. There’s never been a Covid-19 outbreak linked to a beach ever anywhere in the world to the best of my knowledge,” said the member of SAGE’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M).
Britain’s police were out over the weekend reinforcing effective house arrest messages such as those conveyed by Professor Semple, with South Wales Police pulling over drivers to interrogate them on whether they were travelling to any beauty spots, while Brighton and Hove Police were questioning people sitting on the beach.
It is not the first time that scientists influencing the government told Britons to cancel their normal interactions with seasonal changes and events, including in December when citizens were told to postpone Christmas until the Summer or even put off seeing some relatives until even later in 2021 after people had been vaccinated. This latest warning comes months earlier than equivalent messages put out by the government last year, which launched a scare campaign to put people off going outside.
Breitbart London reported in April 2020 when the government pre-empted a “mini-heatwave” weekend, telling the public: “this weekend give the beach a miss. Anyone can get it, anyone can spread it”.
UK Govt: Please Do Not Go Out to Enjoy the Nice Weather This Weekend https://t.co/6PQJ7TDcmF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 4, 2020