Coronavirus: ‘Pretty clear’ tougher restrictions are needed, says SAGE adviser

The UK is going to need to do “more” to address a surge in Covid cases, Sir Mark Walport has said

Chantal Da Silva
Sunday 03 January 2021 10:24
'Pretty clear' tighter restrictions are needed, says SAGE adviser

After the UK recorded a record-breaking 57,725 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, SAGE adviser Sir Mark Walport has warned that it may be time for the Government to consider further restrictions to curb the spread of Covid

Speaking with BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday, Sir Mark, a former chief scientific adviser to the Government, said the focus in the UK should be about “breaking essentially every possible route of transmission we possibly can”. 

“It's the tier 4 restrictions, it's obeying them. It is thinking about breaking essentially every possible route of transmission we possibly can," he said. 

“Those are the things that are absolutely necessary and it is pretty clear we're going to need more." 

With a new variant of coronavirus believed to be driving a recent surge in cases in the UK, Sir Mark said it would likely be difficult to keep the new variant under control without the introduction of tighter social distancing measures. 

It is unclear exactly what those heightened measures might look like. However, he suggested that the Government may need to revisit the possibility of widespread school closures.

However, on Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted that parents should “absolutely” send their children to primary schools in the parts of England where they are set to reopen tomorrow.

“There is no doubt in my mind that schools are safe,” the prime minister said. 

On Friday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that London's primary schools would remain closed amid a surge in Covid cases in the capital, however.

Secondary schools, meanwhile, are expected to reopen across England on a staggered basis.

A number of leading education unions have called for a more widespread return to remote teaching to protect the health and safety of students, families, teachers and other school staff.

Meanwhile, there are also calls for the UK to institute a full national lockdown in the face of rising Covid cases, with city leaders in Liverpool pressuring the Government to boost restrictions.

As coronavirus cases surged this past week, the acting mayor of Liverpool, Wendy Simon, and the city council’s cabinet said a national lockdown might be necessary to address the “alarming” rise in infections.

As of Sunday morning, more than 2.6 million positive coronavirus cases have been recorded in the UK, with 74,682 deaths, according to an online tracker maintained by the Johns Hopkins University.

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