SAGE member details what government must to do keep Covid-19 cases under control

The government must rebuild trust with the public and communicate effectively in order to contain the recent spike in coronavirus cases, a member of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has said.

Susan Michie, Professor of Health Psychology at University College London, told ITV News: "I think the key thing is to build up trust and a sense of collective solidarity that was so effective at the beginning of this pandemic."

Prof Michie was critical of the government's resent approach, accusing them of "on the one hand saying things and doing things differently."

She cited the recent example of Boris Johnson talking to 50 Tory MPs in one room, which is a breach of current guidelines limiting gatherings to 30.

Professor Michie said: "Unfortunately, we are in a situation where the messages have come out: 'eat out to help out', go back to your work places, opening the bars and restaurants and pubs.

"All of this signals normality and I think what we need now is to signal we are in the middle of a pandemic crisis still, and also the government needs to take some of the responsibility for the situation we're in."

Over the past few days confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK have jumped significantly, with almost 3,000 being recorded on Sunday and Monday.

The government's scientific advisers have started sounding alarms about the sudden increase, with England's deputy chief medical officer saying yesterday the rise was of "great concern."

His warning was mirrored by another member of SAGE telling ITV News yesterday case numbers were increasing "exponentially."

The government has indicated it is considering enhancing measures and several local lockdowns have seen their rules tightened in the past few days.

Professor Michie said: "What we should be doing is focusing on the changing in the short term so that we can get out of this pandemic as quickly as possible and get back to the kind of lives we want to get back to."