Boris Johnson ignored Sage warning curfews on pubs and restaurants are unlikely to curb rising tide of coronavirus
BORIS Johnson ignored warnings from the Government's top scientists that slapping 10pm curfews on pubs and restaurants are unlikely to curb the rising tide of new coronavirus infections.
Documents have revealed the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) led by Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty had very little confidence in the new measures forcing pubs and bars to close early.
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In a document published on September 17, the top experts modelled the impact of new curbs on Brits, a week before the PM introduced the curfew.
They said that "Curfews (are) likely to have a marginal impact" and they had "low confidence" in the measures helping.
They warned that pubs and bars are driving new cases, but forcing early closing hours wouldn't solve the probem.
They said there the "environmental risk in bars, pubs etc is likely to be higher than many other indoor settings due to close proximity of people."
People not wearing face masks, sitting around with their friends for long periods of time, and talking loudly would all increase the risk of spreading Covid-19.
Brits who went to pubs and bars are twice as likely to catch coronavirus, than people who didn't.
The scientists were angling for even tougher restrictions, with a national circuit breaker lockdown to stop the surge in new infections.
And closing bars and pubs entirely could potentially cut the crucial R rate by 0.1 to 0.2.
But Boris Johnson last night resisted pressure from the scientists to introduce tougher measures.
And the PM ignored their cries for a '"circuit breaker" lockdown by introducing his new three tiered system of local measures.
Only Liverpool will have the toughest Tier 3 lockdown measures and have to close pubs and bars.
Restaurants will be allowed to stay open and serve alcohol if they are serving a "substantial meal".
But Professor Whitty warned Brits facing drastic measures that even the "base line" of Tier 3 restrictions would not be enough to quell the soaring infection numbers.
He said local areas would have to make use of significant "bespoke" measures to close other businesses.
Other venues including gyms and casinos will have to be closed in Liverpool.
The rest of England will be able to head to pubs and bars as long as they're out by 10pm.
The scientists warned the non-Covid impact of forcing pubs to close could be devastating.
They said there would be "high indirect impacts" as businesses' lost income and employees were unable to take home a pay check.
They warned there could be a "loss of confidence and loss of trust, especially for the businesses that opened.
They asked: "Will they have the confidence and ability to open again?"
Another paper warned that over 90 per cent of Brits are vulnerable to coronavirus, and "not acting now to reduce cases will result in a very large epidemic with catastrophic consequences in terms of direct Covid-related deaths and the ability of the health service to meet needs."
It added: "A package of interventions will need to be adopted to prevent this exponential rise in cases.
"Single interventions are unlikely to be able to reduce incidence."
The papers explicitly warned against applying tough measures in "too specific a geographical area".
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