‘Don’t tear the pants out of it!’ Government warns British public not to abuse new liberties

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‘Don’t tear the pants out of it!’ Government warns British public not to abuse new liberties as Covid-19 lockdown is eased and urges ‘we’re at a very dangerous moment’ after huge crowds swarm beaches

A senior government scientific adviser has urged the public to follow the loosened lockdown rules to the letter and not ‘tear the pants out of it’.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam warned that straying from the guidance would risk a second wave on infection.

His blunt instruction to Britons came as thousands of sun-seekers jumped the gun on Monday’s easing of restrictions to pour on to beaches. 

Prof Van Tam told the daily Number 10 briefing: ‘One (coronavirus) case will infect three other people. It’s like having a spring inside a box and you’ve got the lid on. 

‘Now you can take the lid off a little but you haven’t disconnected the spring. If you take the lid right off the spring is still under tension and off it will go again.

‘So this is a dual responsibility here of government to go carefully and to take advice from the scientists. 

‘Of the scientists to watch this closely over the next few weeks. And of the public in general to actually follow the guidance. 

‘Don’t tear the pants out of it and don’t go further than the guidance says.’   

Professor Jonathan Van Tam told the daily press conference ‘don’t tear the pants out of it’

He told the press conference that the lockdown easing must go ‘painstakingly’ slowly, adding: ‘The scientists will continue to give that advice to the Government. No apologies for that, we will absolutely continue to do that.’

Referring back to when levels of the virus were higher, he said at that point he had noted it was a very dangerous moment.

He added: ‘I believe this is also a very dangerous moment. We have to get this right.’

Discussing the latest statistics, he said he had noticed ‘some increase’ in cases in the past few days.

But he added: ‘I want to be clear that that is a trend that we have seen before in these data and what is rather more important is that you look at the seven-day rolling average which continues to show a clear downward trend, and that is important.’ 

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