Control: Former chief scientific adviser and member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) Sir Mark Walport said the only way to stop the virus spreading is to reduce the number of people we all come into contact with, adding that there is an “extremely strong argument” that home working should continue.
Sir Mark Walport told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think one would have to say that we’re on the edge of losing control.”
He said: “You’ve only got to look across the Channel to see what’s happening in France, what’s happening in Spain.
He added: “The short answer is the only way to stop the spread of this infection is to reduce the number of people we all come into contact with, that lowers the risk.
“It’s a very very fine balancing act, it’s very important to get youngsters back to school, people to university, but it means we’re going to have to hold back our contacts in other areas.”
The professor said he was “definitely” still working from home, and told the programme: “Where people can work from home there’s an extremely strong argument that they should do so.”
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said Sir Mark’s warning is a “warning to us all”, telling the Today Programme: “I think Sir Mark’s words – he’s a very distinguished scientist – is a warning to us all.
There’s a range of scientific opinion but one thing on which practically every scientist is agreed is that we have seen an uptick in infection and therefore it is appropriate we take public health measures.”