Boris Johnson overruled SAGE scientists who called for tougher lockdown three weeks ago
Boris Johnson overruled SAGE scientists who called for a tougher lockdown three weeks ago.
New minutes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies have revealed the Prime Minister refused after being urged to introduce a two-week shutdown.
Last night Mr Johnson unveiled his “three tier” lockdown system for England ahead of more restrictions in Scotland.
It sees areas of England put into "medium", "high" and "very high" alert levels, with bans on household contact, travel and visiting pubs in the worst areas.
Now dombshell documents quietly published on the Government website shortly after the PM’s press conference show Sage asked the Government to go much further than the new measures.
In a meeting on September 21, the group called for a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown across the whole of England.
The papers also showed the scientists suggested banning all contact inside homes with members of other households and requiring all university and college teaching to take place online.
They also called for the closing of all bars, restaurants, cafes, indoor gyms and hairdressers for safety reasons.In a stark warning that was ignored, Sage claimed "not acting now to reduce cases will result in a very large epidemic with catastrophic consequences".
The document explained: "Modelling suggests that 14 days of significant reduction in transmission in October could put the epidemic back 28 days and could significantly reduce the prevalence of infection in December.
“The amount of ‘time gained’ is highly dependent on how quickly the epidemic is growing – the faster the growth or stricter the measures introduced, the more time gained.
“The more rapidly these interventions are put in place the greater the reduction in COVID-related deaths and the quicker they can be eased.”
Despite the Government’s repeated insistence they are following the science, the only measure they adopted was advising people to work from home if they can.
Labour have responded furiously to the documents, labelling them “deeply alarming”.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “Why were these documents published an hour AFTER the press conference?
"Why is the government ignoring its own scientists? Why is the PM taking steps that scientists say will not be sufficient?
“What is the PM going to do to get control of the virus?"
It comes after a press conference that saw Professor Chris Whitty openly question the new tier system announced by the PM.England’s chief medical officer admitted: "I am not confident - nor is anybody confident - that the Tier 3 proposals for the highest rate, if you did the absolute base case and nothing more would be enough to get on top of it."This morning UK communities Secretary Robert Jernrick defended the PM’s “balanced” approach.
He said: “We have to take a balanced judgement - these are not easy decisions.
“But the prime minister has to balance protecting people’s lives and the NHS from the virus while also prioritising things that matter to us as a society, like education and keeping as many people in employment as possible, and also ensuring that other health risks, like mental health and illnesses, don’t get neglected as a result.”
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