A LEADING government scientific adviser has called for lockdown restrictions to be lifted by region – starting with London.
Professor Peter Openshaw, who sits on the Government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), suggested releasing measures based on local infection rates.
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He urged the Government to be "more subtle about the geography," saying lifting restrictions in London could be "perfectly okay" but northern England might have to wait longer because of its higher infection rate.
Boris Johnson has insisted the Government stands ready to re-impose restrictions on regions, towns and even specific schools and office blocks if there are regional flare-ups of the virus – describing it as a "whack-a-mole" approach.
And Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he had seen "slight variations" in the geographical data, saying: "We will target specific settings or particular regions or geographic areas, yes, absolutely."
But they have so far restrained from backing an approach that lifts the national lockdown restrictions that have lasted for 10 weeks region by region.
Advocating this approach, Professor Openshaw told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show that the infection rate across the country is going to be "very patchy".
He added: “It may be that actually easing lockdown is perfectly okay in areas like London which were hit early and hit hard, and where the epidemic seems to have been virtually passed in many parts of the community, with a few exceptions.
“But up north it’s still a very large number of cases. I think we need to be more subtle about the geography and we need to look at the particular areas where it may be appropriate to ease lockdown.
"Maybe there needs to be a bit more subtlety to the way in which lockdown is eased.”
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