COVID experts urge the PM to end the ban on outdoor sports ahead of the unveiling of his lockdown exit strategy
As the UK edges closer to a relaxing of restrictions, with the Prime Minister set to announce his ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown at 7pm tomorrow (Monday, February 22), Ministers and Covid experts alike are weighing in with their opinions on how the new measures should be implemented. Of course, Boris Johnson has been meeting with his Covid committee over the past few days to iron out the final details and the strategy has almost certainly been set in stone already; nevertheless, many experts have shown concern over the Prime Minister’s ‘cautious’ approach and believe the UK’s Covid figures are good enough to accelerate the unlocking.
Professor Mark Woolhouse of Edinburgh University, advised on Sunday, February 21 that there is simply ‘no need’ for the Government to be so cautious, and has advocated for both children and adults to be allowed to practice outdoor sports immediately.
He told theObserver: ‘The government has said the country’s exit from lockdown should be data-driven. Well the data is extremely good, far better than anyone, including me, anticipated two or three weeks ago.
‘This virus very rarely transmits outdoors. So, quite honestly, outdoor activities that don’t involve close physical contact could be adopted now. That is not an argument to say we can have crowds back at football matches.
‘But sports involving small numbers of players or sports for children: they could start safely today.”
Professor Woolhouse has said on many occasions that the data is strong enough for the government to ease lockdown restrictions much more quickly, but while the Prime Minister has said that he is “optimistic” about the relaxing of measures, we’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to see what this actually means.
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