SCIENTISTS have warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson that lifting lockdown measures too early and too fast could lead to thousands more coronavirus deaths.
The warning came just before the Prime Minister unveiled the latest news about the lockdown, which saw some measures about work and exercise lifted.
A scientific adviser to the government has warned that Britain could see more than 100,000 deaths from coronavirus by the end of the year if the lockdown is relaxed too fast.
They said to the Sunday Times: “Whether we get 100,000 deaths by the end of the year depends on how quickly measures are relaxed, how effective contact tracing is and whether we get on top of the situation in hospitals and care homes.
“The care home and hospital epidemics seed infection back into the community via the staff employed in those institutions.
“We have to control them before significant relaxation will be possible.”
The scientific adviser also said “there is very limited room for manoeuvre” in regards to what measures can be lifted to ease lockdown.
The Times said that the Government’s Sage advisory committee was sent figures by researchers from the London School of Tropical Hygiene, Imperial College and other centres.
They modelled different lockdown exit policies “to evaluate which were viable and which were not.”
The source said more than one model had put the death toll in six figures in some scenarios.
Boris Johnson announced on Sunday that some lockdown measures will be lifted, but insisted that the plan is “conditional” on infection rates.
He said people who could not work from home should return to the workplace, but they should avoid public transport.
He also introduced a new COVID Alert System with five levels would govern how quickly lockdown restrictions could be eased.
He hoped the next step “at the earliest by 1 June” would be for some primary pupils to return to school in England.
The speech also saw a change in the messaging around the virus, changing “stay home” to “stay alert,” which has prompted concerns around whether that is sufficiently clear.
Til Wykes, vice dean of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at Kings College London, said to The Times: “The one thing that helps the population is clear, concise and accurate messaging.
“This one is concise only.
“The previous message to Stay home was at least clear.
“What does stay alert mean?
“It will just be confusing, be open to misinterpretation and likely to increase risky behaviour.”
The Prime Minister stressed: “This is not the time simply to end the lockdown this week.
“Instead we are taking the first careful steps to modify our measures.”
The UK is now the most effected country in Europe from COVID-19, with 31,855 deaths
It also has 219,183 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Sunday.