Boris Johnson must end ban on outdoor sports now, top scientist urges

Boris Johnson must end ban on outdoor sports now, top scientist urges, as Covid hospitalisations, cases and deaths ‘plunge’ and vaccinations soar

  • Professor Mark Woolhouse calls for accelerated ease of lockdown restrictions 
  • Says small numbers of adults and kids should be allowed to play sports outside 
  • Added the data is so promising that outdoor sports should return ‘straight away’ 

Children and small numbers of adults should be allowed to play outdoor sports immediately, according to a leading scientist.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a roadmap for easing restrictions in England tomorrow in a statement in Parliament.

He is believed to be planning a cautious approach, despite more than 17million doses of the vaccine being pumped into arms.

Professor Woolhouse says children should be allowed to play outside ‘immediately’

But Professor Mark Woolhouse of Edinburgh University says the recent data suggest there is ‘no need’ to be quite so careful.

He said in the Observer: ‘The government has said the country’s exit from lockdown should be data-driven. Well the data is extremely good, far better than anyone, including me, anticipated two or three weeks ago.

‘This virus very rarely transmits outdoors. So, quite honestly, outdoor activities that don’t involve close physical contact could be adopted now. That is not an argument to say we can have crowds back at football matches.

Thousands of people will be hoping tomorrow’s announcement comes with an idea when activities such as five-a-side football can return

‘But sports involving small numbers of players or sports for children: they could start safely today.”

Professor Woolhouse says the data is ‘extremely good’ and sport could return straight away

Earlier today Matt Hancock warned the Government would take its time lifting the coronavirus lockdown, despite speeding up plans to rollout vaccines to all UK adults by the end of July.

The Health Secretary said it was ‘right to be cautious’ ahead of Boris Johnson’s big reveal of his roadmap out of restrictions tomorrow.

Mr Hancock confirmed this morning that every adult in the country will be offered at least one dose of a Covid vaccine by the end of July.

Mr Hancock also confirmed that everyone over 50 will be offered at least a first dose by April 15, rather than by May, as previously suggested.

And he also confirmed that one-in-three adults in England has now been vaccinated.


But asked about the speed of the lockdown lifting, he told Sky’s Ridge on Sunday: ‘It is right to be cautious, it is incredibly important. 

‘There are still almost 20,000 people in the hospital with Covid right now. Almost 20,000.

‘The vaccination programme whilst clearly going very well, will take time to be able to reach all people who have significant vulnerability, especially because we also need to get the second jab to everybody.

‘So we have got time that needs to be taken to get this right, the PM will set out the roadmap tomorrow and he will set out the full details, taking into account that we need to take a cautious but irreversible approach, that’s the goal.’

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