School opening could force pubs to close, says government science adviser


Pubs may have to close for schools to reopen, a government adviser has warned.In agreement with Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, Professor Graham Medley, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said the country was “close to the limits” of opening up society.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine scholar told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “I think it’s very possible. ”

“I think we are in a situation where most people think that opening schools is a priority for the health and well-being of children and that when we do, we will reconnect many households.

“And so in fact, by shutting down some of the other networks, some of the other activities may well be needed to allow us to open schools.

“It can come down to a question of what tradeoffs are you making against each other, and then it’s all about prioritizing, do we think pubs are more important than schools?

The professor’s remarks come on the same day that further restrictions were to be lifted in England.

Theaters, concert halls, bowling alleys, ice rinks and casinos can no longer reopen this weekend as the easing of the lockdown has been postponed.

Restrictions were to be relaxed from August 1 to allow performances to reopen to socially distant audiences and other “high-risk” leisure attractions.

Close contact beauty services such as facials were also due to resume but will now be postponed for at least two weeks.

Professor Graham Medley of Sage said the rise in coronavirus infections appeared to concern young people, but warned there was a danger it could ‘spread’ to other parts of the population.

The chair of Sage’s subgroup on pandemic modeling said, “The age distribution of infections has changed, it has moved to younger age groups and so it is likely that we will not see this increase. hospital admissions linked to the infection in the same way we did in March.

“But the big fear is that the virus will get out of hand and we will end up in a situation where there are so many viruses that it inevitably spreads to all segments of the population. ”

Professor Medley has warned that increased lockdown measures in areas of north-west England were “highly unlikely” as the “last regional intervention to be made”.

“I fully expect that there will be other interventions at other times, but the nature of the interventions really depends on what is going on,” he added.


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