Health expert says anti-lockdown campaigners are worsening Covid restrictions they oppose

Prof Devi Sridhar on BBC Question Time in September 2020.

Prof Devi Sridhar on BBC Question Time in September 2020. - Credit: Archant

A prominent public health expert has said that anti-lockdown campaigners are responsible for worsening the very restrictions they oppose.

Professor Devi Sridhar, chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh told the Stormont politicians: “The people who are most anti-lockdown have been frustrating to listen to because those are the people pushing us into lockdown…

“The anti-lockdowners are reducing compliance and when compliance goes and your numbers go up you are forced into a lockdown… 

“We need those harsher restrictions because our test and trace can't cope.

"So the irony is the people who are most against restrictions are causing us to go into these restriction cycles and those of us who are articulating public health principles, good compliance, voluntary behavioural change, trying to keep numbers low, are actually trying to avoid lockdowns at this point.”

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Prof Sridhar was speaking on Thursday as one member of a panel of academics addressing Stormont's health committee, and she advocated a common strategy to tackle coronavirus that could be implemented across the British Isles, from Dublin to London and the devolved administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. 

"We all want to avoid lockdowns but what do we need to do together to get there?" said Prof Sridhar. "A zero COVID strategy is the best way to get there in my view, having looked at this for ten months."

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The professor also told the committee that the pandemic "still has a long way to run" and that poorer countries will be living with the virus "for years to come".

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