Too early to lift lockdown, says Berry

Green Party Co-leader Sian Berry says that the Covid-19 lockdown must remain until the virus can be effectively contained, calling on the government to show transparency in its response to the crisis.

coronavirus benches
coronavirus benches

Image: Luis Arroyo

Green World

Green Party Co-leader Sian Berry has said the Covid-19 “lockdown must be maintained” until the virus can be effectively contained, calling for transparency from the government over its next steps.

Berry made the statement after Boris Johnson had earlier warned that lifting the lockdown too early risked creating a second spike and unleashing “a new wave of death and disease”. 

Speaking in front of Number 10 Downing Street in his first public appearance since recovering from Covid-19, the prime minister urged those calling for an early end to lockdown measures to “contain their impatience” as the UK entered both a “moment of opportunity” and a “moment of maximum risk”.

In her statement, Berry said: “With so many people losing loved ones, no-one can call the government’s policies so far a success, and now is not the time to be taking further risks with people’s lives.

“Until we can get the infection rate down to a point where an effective containment policy is possible, lockdown must be maintained.”

Berry went on to call for cross-party monitoring and debate of “open and transparent data” from the government on the Covid-19 pandemic, adding: “Until policy is in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines on tracing and tracking, we must not see any reduction in social distancing measures.”

The Green Party last week (20 April) released a report calling on the government to ensure the six preconditions laid out by the WHO were met before easing the lockdown. This included mass community testing and tracing to isolate cases quickly to prevent return outbreaks, which is so far missing from the government’s five prerequisites for ending lockdown.

Questions over transparency of the government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis have arisen over the past few weeks, with the government giving little away about how the lockdown will be lifted when its preconditions have been met. 

Some form of scrutiny of the government’s response will return with Parliament now operating in a hybrid ‘virtual’ form, with the House of Commons only allowing 50 MPs at a time to be present, with others able to participate via Zoom.

Berry added: “It is critical that all of us in our daily lives continue to understand and stick with the lockdown policies and measures needed, and this is another reason why the government must be transparent with its data and open about the debate on next steps.”