Opening pub gardens ‘makes perfect sense’, says ex-WHO chief who’ll ‘brave rain for a nice pint’

OPENING pub gardens “makes perfect sense”, says an ex-WHO chief – as the Government discusses plans to reopen on June 22.

Professor Karol Sikora – dubbed “Professor Positive” for his optimistic views during lockdown – admits he would “brave the rain for a nice pint”.

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Rick Findler
Opening pub gardens “makes perfect sense”, according to an expert – pictured, a woman picks up takeaway pints in London[/caption]

Writing on Twitter, the 71-year-old leading oncologist said: “Allowing pubs and restaurants more freedom to operate outside with careful restrictions makes perfect sense.

“Let’s get them open! Relying on the British summer weather is a risky business though.

“I’m sure people would brave the rain for a nice pint – I would!”

Jobs on the line

Pubs, restaurants, and hotels are not due to reopen until at least July.

But No10 hopes beer gardens could be used as early as June 22 under a new social-distancing plan, including ordering drinks via an app.

It comes after Business Secretary Alok Sharma warned ministers last week that 3.5 million hospitality jobs will be on the line if they can't reopen for the summer.

Boris Johnson is understood to be stuck between ministers dubbed “hawks” who are urging him to speed up the return to normal life — and scientists warning him to slow it down.

It is feared shuttering hospitality businesses for months could push unemployment over five million by next year.

Prof Karol Sikora, ex-leading oncologist for the World Health Organisation, has been dubbed ‘Professor Positive’ for his optimism during lockdown

Prof Sikora has previously called on the Government to be more flexible in relaxing the UK’s “one-size-fits-all” lockdown.

Writing in the MailOnline, he said: “We know that Covid-19 is a selective killer, we have to accept that we cannot have a one-size-fits-all approach to the lockdown.

“Certain people are more vulnerable than others – and it should now be up to them to make a personal assessment of their individual risk.”

He was speaking in reference to Public Health England’s report last week, which analysed the biggest risk factors for coronavirus.

It showed that Covid-19 targets specific groups – particularly the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.

Prof Sikora has since pointed out that at the start of the coronavirus lockdown – the UK Government gave a simple message: “We are all in danger, do as you're told, and if you don't, we've given the police special powers to fine or arrest you.”

The latest death toll in the UK from June 7
The latest number of cases in the UK from June 7

However, he says the ONS figures suggest that not everyone is affected in the same way by the virus, which has now killed more than 40,000 people in the UK.

And he said that people who are clearly “not disproportionately at-risk” should be able to make decisions on how quickly they exit the lockdown – using their own “rational assessment of the risks involved”.

Prof Sikora claimed this would help to get the economy back to work and hospitals returning to the crucial diagnostic work and routine procedures that have been put on hold.

And the expert has taken the optimistic view that we’ll be “largely through” the pandemic by September.

Despite this, he warned that the UK should not ignore spikes in the disease, such as in South Korea.

He said that these require intense vigilance and swift local measures where necessary, but we should not be fearful.


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