04:19 GMT20 June 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    Government advisor Professor Susan Michie later insisted her comments did not amount to a call for the permanent extension of mask-wearing rules and other measures, seeking to blame Downing Street for the three consecutive coronavirus lockdowns.

    A scientific advisor to the UK government has rowed back on her televised assertion that COVID-19 hygiene rules should be kept in place "forever".

    Professor Sue Michie, a health psychologist at University College London and a member of the government's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), made her comments on the UK's Channel 5 News on Wednesday.

    "Vaccines are a really important part of the pandemic control but it's only one part. Test, trace and isolate system, border controls are really essential," Michie said. "And the third thing is people's behaviour. That is the behaviour of social distancing, of when you're indoors making sure there's good ventilation and hand and surface hygiene."

    "We'll need to keep these going in the long term and that will probably be good not only for COVID but to reduce other diseases," ​she insisted.

    Presenter Claudia-Liza Armah asked: "When you say the long term, what do you mean by that — how long?", to which Michie replied: "I think forever, to some extent."

    But late on Thursday night the professor admitted that she had been "getting flak" over her opinion, claiming she had never meant that current pandemic measures should continue indefinitely.

    ​Michie tried to make common ground with one commenter who railed against endless lockdowns

    ​But she said indoor mask-wearing should be kept as an "option" — while claiming a lack of green policy-making would put the world at risk of similar outbreaks in future.

    Michie is the ex-wife of Andrew Murray, who was a special advisor to former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn from 2018 to 2020 and previously chairman of the Stop the War Coalition.


    Ex-UK PM Blair Calls for COVID-19 Vaccine Passports by Another Name
    UK Government Mulls Alternatives to 21 June COVID Lockdown Lifting
    Britain: 'Fairly Grim' COVID-19 Forecast May Delay Lifting of Lockdown by Two Weeks, Media Reveals
    Jeremy Corbyn, pandemic, lockdown, coronavirus, COVID-19, Stop the War Coalition, Andrew Murray
    Community standardsDiscussion