Gov scientists claim 'circuit break' lockdown could stop thousands of Covid deaths

TWO of the government’s top scientific advisers claim a two week 'circuit break' lockdown could prevent thousands of deaths before Christmas.

Graham Medley, who sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), and Matt Keeling, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, want the tougher measures imposed over the school half-term break. 

The scientists are expected to release their findings in a joint paper on Wednesday, The Financial Times reports. 

They say that between 3,000 and as many as 107,000 — could be avoided by January if a national lockdown is imposed over the October break. 

Their academic paper comes after Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition, also called for a “circuit breaker” lockdown to curb the surge in coronavirus infections across the UK. 

The paper by Prof Medley and Prof Keeling is being submitted for peer review and models the effects of two weeks of strict social interventions starting on October 24 and ending on November 7. 

It suggests that tighter restrictions could also prevent between 5,000 and 140,000 hospitalisations by January. 

And the authors reportedly argue that imposing the rules for just a short period, could also “limit the economic damage” of a lockdown. 

Members of Sage proposed a circuit breaker lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus in late September but Mr Johnson opted instead for lighter measures — including the “rule of six” on gatherings and the 10pm closure of pubs. 

A Downing Street spokesman said on Tuesday that the Sage advice was rejected because “economic impacts” had to be taken into account — but denied that the scientific advisers had been sidelined. 

On Monday the prime minister set out a new three-tier system for local lockdowns, with Liverpool the first region to take the brunt of the strictest new measures as it is the area of England with the highest number of infections.  

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