23:35 GMT19 January 2021
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    A former chief scientific officer has warned that another 27,000 excess deaths are likely by next April if ministers do not change tack on the coronavirus crisis. Sir David King said the current Government policy seemed to aim to “maintain” the current level of around 3,000 new infections per day across England.

    Political Commentator Mandy Boylett reflects on the latest developments in UK's anti-coronavirus strategy.

    Sputnik: What do these estimations from Sir David King represent in your eyes?

    Mandy Boylett: First of all, I would say where is he got them from? Because we had Professor Neil Ferguson who came out with all his predictions and they were based on an outdated model that if you use it on different computers, you've got different results depending on the processor speeds. I mean, estimates are just that and there's also the collateral damage from Coronavirus. It's not just about COVID-19. It's about cancers not being diagnosed. It's people not going to the doctors to get things checked, it's suicides and there's going to be a lot more of that if people see their businesses just completely disappear because of the lockdown. So, I think you need a balanced approach.

    Sputnik: This weekend it was ‘Super Saturday’ where bars and pubs across England reopened for the first time in over 100 days. Is the UK coming out of lockdown too quickly or is this the right pace?

    Mandy Boylett: I think it's the right pace but I think we're doing it the wrong way. Boris has said he wants people to lose weight because a third of the UK population are obese and that's a major risk factor for Coronavirus. So, what does he do? He keeps the gyms closed when a lot of them have put in very good hygiene measures;  acrylic screens, facilities to wash down the exercise bikes and exercise equipment between use,  and they've put a lot of effort into it, and he said that they can't open, and yet he's opening bars where there's no control over what people do when they're drunk. You say social distancing but the thing is you're not in control. So, I would have thought that bars and pubs would be the absolute last to open. It's also the same with the beauty industry. He's opened hairdressers and in his own speech, he said he has this machismo attitude 'Oh well. I want a haircut. We need a pint.' and that's effectively what he's done. He's ignored the science. He wants his hair cut in a pint. So he's opened the bars. He's opened the hairdressers but not the beauty industry and not opening the beauty industry that's like indirect discrimination against women because 90% of workers within the beauty industry are female. There's no reason why it couldn't open alongside the hairdressing industry. Beauty businesses have spent thousands of pounds on PPE and yet there's not been given an opening date. It's actually a 30-billion-pound industry, which is more than car manufacturing, yet during a recent Prime Minister's questions it was just treated with hilarity and derision, and it's absolutely astonishing that Boris appears to me to be putting his own personal likes over the science and over what's good for the country.

    People enjoy their drinks at The Black Lion pub in central London on Saturday, 4 July, as the coronavirus lockdown was eased.
    © AP Photo / Frank Augstein
    People drinking outside a pub in London on 4 July 2020

    Sputnik: What measures would you like to see from the government going forwards regarding it's handling of the Coronavirus pandemic?

    Mandy Boylett: I would like to see more of an emphasis on antibody testing. I think if people know that they've had it and they've got antibodies, then they could start to rebuild the economy. I also think people who are at low-risk students, school children... I don't think we should ever shut the schools. I think that for the schools, the schools should have kept open. All teachers under 50, provided they had no comorbidities or they weren't living with somebody who had comorbidities, they should have been at work. People over 50 it's up to them whether they want to go or whether they want to shield. There are ways around everything but I don't think that we should be hurting all the young people, children and students with a lockdown that is really destroying their childhood and their university-hood and it's not fair. They're not at risk. I think the people who are vulnerable, they're the ones that should be shielding and shielded. I know that a Boris said they can come at the end of July, well no they can't, not really because they're still just as much risk as they were before if they come across somebody with Coronavirus. Another thing I'd like to say is that I know we've got a local lockdown in Leicester at the moment, which is fair enough, it's not caused by anything that's been forbidden, like gyms or beauty industry or hairdressing. It's all caused by factories, where they're not using the proper precautions. You need to have a look at the meatpacking factories, clothing factories, where there seems to be a preponderance to get huge outbreaks of Coronavirus and the HSE needs to go in those places and if they can't be made safe then they need to shut down. The other thing is you have some areas where they have no Coronavirus at all or very little, and instead of having those places on lockdown, you could have those places on no lockdown. So you can have a trial area to see let's see get back to normal and see what happens in that area. That would help those industries that have been locked down in those areas as well.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    death toll, COVID-19, United Kingdom
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