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Scientists backing proposals for a circuit breakder during the half-term are reportedly calling on the Government to consider repeating the lockdown measures during all of the school holidays.

Minutes previously released by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) group revealed Boris Johnson was urged three weeks ago to shut pubs, bars, restaurants, gyms, hair salons and move university teaching online.

Experts warned Mr Johnson that single interventions were “unlikely” to stem surging Covid-19 cases. But the proposal for a circuit breaker styled lockdown was rejected by the Prime Minister.

Scientists advising the Goverment on the coronavirus crisis told Sky News a circuit breaker should not only be held for the half term in October, but the measures should be repeated for future school holidays.

Dr David Nabarro, the World Health Organisation‘s (WHO) special envoy for the global Covid-19 response, stressed that test, trace and isolate was essential for a circuit breaker to work.

“Sort out test, trace and isolate, and have a really strong communication programme, so that everybody in the country knows the basics about mask wearing, physical distancing, hygiene and keeping out the way when you get sick and make sure that things work well at local level,” Dr Nabarro told Sky News.

Sir Keir Starmer calls for short national lockdown

“This is a really punitive thing to do, to put Britain back in lockdown, even for two weeks, and so I would like to suggest that decision makers actually sort out these problems, rather than say it’s too difficult, we can’t do it, we’ve spent a lot of money on it, but it’s not working, so we’ll have to go back into lockdown.”

Professor Graham Medley, an expert in infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and member of Sage, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme a week isn’t long enough for a circuit breaker.

“Somebody who’s infected the day before you go into that break would still be infectious when you came out,” said Professor Medley.

“You need at least one generation of infection, so people who were infected before, to stop being infected by the end, so it would need to be at least two weeks.”

Meanwhile Professor Sir Jeremy Farrar, who is a member of Sage and also directs the Wellcome Trust, said on Thursday that the base restrictions were the “worst of all worlds” and suggested a three-week “circuit-breaker” lockdown.

He told the BBC’s Newscast podcast: “I think we’ve got to come together as a country, this fragmentation, and frankly making this either a north/south or a party political issue, that’s a very dangerous route to go on. If you look at the countries that have controlled this well to date – Germany, China, Singapore, Vietnam, Korea, New Zealand – they’ve had a national consensus about the way forward.

“What we don’t want now is a fragmentation or confusion – one area or region or city pitched against another. I think that would be very, very damaging to public health and the country’s ability to respond.

“The base restrictions are not going to be enough to turn the epidemic around and prevent the hospitalisations, and they’re also going to damage the economy, so in a sense I think we’re in the worst of all worlds here, so we’re ultimately going to have to choose.

“And I think a circuit-breaker of probably three weeks would put the epidemic back to the beginning of September levels and that would give us three weeks to get the test trace isolate system really functional and trusted and used, and accessible, and it would allow us to prepare the NHS for the winter, because we are in for a very, very bumpy period between now and the spring of next year.”