The Government’s top scientist said tier three baseline conditions ‘on their own almost certainly aren’t enough to get the R below one’ (Picture: Reuters)

‘Extra measures’ could be introduced in tier three areas as current restrictions are not enough to bring down infection rates, the Government’s top scientist has warned.

Chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance said tier three baseline restrictions ‘on their own almost certainly aren’t enough to get the R below one’ at a Downing Street press conference on Friday.

It comes after England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty suggested flexibility within the new three-tier system could see local health leaders introduce ‘additional’ measures.

Sir Vallance told the press conference yesterday: ‘It’s crucial that where the R is above one and the numbers are high, to get the R below one for all the reasons that have been outlined, including, of course, the hospitalisations which are increasing. So it’s crucial that’s done and there are a number of ways that it can be done.’

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Referring to Professor Whitty’s comments, he added: ‘And as the chief medical officer said, Tier three baseline conditions on their own, almost certainly aren’t enough to get the R below one.’

When asked for examples of further measures that could help drive the R number below one, Sir Vallance said: ‘In terms of the extra measures, they’re all laid out what the extra measures are, and I think that’s where local knowledge and local insight can add and make sure that enough of those extra measures are put on top of baseline Tier 3 in order to get this working and to get the R below one.

‘But if you go to higher levels in Tier 3 and start adding in other areas then… they should be enough to get R below one, provided they are fully implemented and we all stick to them.’

The Government could consult with local authorities to agree on ‘additional measures’, according to guidance covering businesses and venues in tier three areas.

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A man and a woman wearing face-masks walk past a tower in Blackpool
People wear face masks against Covid-19 on Blackpool promenade (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

People wearing masks walk in central Liverpool, Britain, on Oct. 16, 2020 (Picture: Xinhua/REX)

Potential additional restrictions listed on the Government’s website include stopping the sale of alcohol and allowing just takeaway and delivery food in the hospitality sector.

Tourist attractions, leisure centres, gyms, libraries, performing arts venues, community centres and ‘personal care and close contact services’ could also be closed – although the Government would ensure things like youth clubs, support groups and disabled sport remain open.

Under Liverpool’s tier three restrictions, additional measures include the closure of casinos, betting shops, adult gaming centres, indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios and sports facilities.

Casinos, bingo halls, betting shops and adult gaming centres, soft play areas and car boot sales are not be allowed to open in Lancashire after the area went into tier three this week.

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It comes as pressure builds on the Government to implement a short national ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown.

Commenting on the concept, Sir Patrick said: ‘A circuit breaker is a way of really pushing measures to the hard level to get R below one quickly and then to release it, and that would break transmission whenever you do it and it would therefore slow and buy some time in the epidemic.

‘So it’s a way of doing it locally or nationally, but of course, in a way, it’s just an extreme version of what you’re trying to do to try and get R below one anyway.

‘So there are different ways in which you can get R below one, and the circuit breaker idea is one way to do it in a sort of short, defined period.’

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Source: Metro