Health experts in the UK are calling for the government to rigidify coronavirus rules by closing nurseries as well as making masks mandatory in busy outdoor areas.
On Friday, January 8, the United Kingdom recorded its highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic with 1,325 fatalities in one day.
Albeit closure of regular schools till at least February, with only vulnerable children and those of critical workers allowed to attend, nurseries have still been allowed to remain open according to reports.
Scientists and government figures, including Labour leader Keir Starmer, have called for stricter rules that also enforce the closure of nursery schools.
In an interview with BBC, Mr Starmer opined that nurseries “probably should be closed”. He said: “I think there is a case for looking at nursery schools, we’re talking to the scientists about that. ‘I think people are surprised that primary schools were closed but nurseries aren’t.”
“It is very difficult to see how we can start lifting restrictions in any meaningful way until the vaccine programme, at least that first part of it, is rolled-out successfully,” he added.
In an interview with the Mirror, Anthony Costello, a Sage member, UCL professor of global health and former WHO director further stressed the need to toughen the lockdown by extending to not just nurseries but places of worship.
“We are in a national crisis with a pandemic out of control. We should have no nurseries open, no synagogues, no churches, no mosques. We should have compulsory masks, two-metre distancing.
“We have to take this really seriously – that’s what Asian states did. The longer we allow it to go on transmitting, the quicker we are going to get a resistant virus to a vaccine, then we are in real doo-doo.”
According to a report by the Sun, Health Secretary Matt Hanncock and other ministers are considering making face masks mandatory in busy outdoor spaces.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for masks to be worn in supermarket queues echoing his previous pleas for face coverings to be compulsory on busy streets during the Christmas shopping season. He has also pushed the government to close places of worship as he declared a major incident in the capital on Friday after the infection rate surpassed 1,000 per 100,000 people.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove previously told reporters: “It’s absolutely vital that traditions of public worship can continue, and I think it’s a very important part of the life of the nation.”
Amidst opinions from top government personnel and health experts, Telegraph reported that a senior source revealed that the government’s strategy is to maintain current rules instead of introducing tougher ones.