Tory MP says coronavirus lockdown must not last three months as 'money does not grow on trees'

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read
An empty Westminster Bridge is pictured in front of Britain's Houses of Parliament in central London on April 13, 2020, as life in Britain continues over the Easter weekend, during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. - Virus-stricken British Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked medics for saving his life after leaving hospital on Easter Sunday, as hundreds of millions of Christians observed the holiday under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. More than half of humanity is confined at home as governments scramble to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 112,500 lives around the world. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
An empty Westminster Bridge pictured on Monday, as Tory MP Sir Robert Syms said the UK's coronavirus lockdown must not last for three months. (AFP via Getty Images)

A Conservative MP has said the UK’s coronavirus lockdown must not last for three months because “money does not grow on trees”.

Sir Robert Syms, the MP for Poole, said a longer lockdown will “undermine” the UK’s ability to fund the NHS.

Sir Robert made the claim following a report by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) saying the economy could shrink by 35% amid the coronavirus crisis, with unemployment rising by two million to about 10% of the working population.

The report assumes the UK’s lockdown will last for three months. It has currently been in place for just over three weeks.

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In an exchange on Twitter, the Tory MP of 23 years said:

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Sir Robert Syms (UK Parliament/Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0))
Sir Robert Syms said the UK's coronavirus lockdown must not last for three months as 'money does not grow on trees'. (UK Parliament/Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0))

The government, which is enforcing its draconian lockdown under the mantra of “stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives”, has suggested it could be another month before the restrictions are relaxed.

On Tuesday, a further 778 deaths were announced as the total number reached 12,107.

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It comes as a number of European countries moved to lift aspects of their lockdowns.

On Tuesday, Austria allowed shops less than 400 square metres, as well as DIY stores and garden centres, to open.

Customers wearing face masks push shopping carts in front of a DIY store in Vienna, Austria, after it re-opened on April 14, 2020, following a "shutdown" in a measure to limit the spread of the new coronavirus. (Photo by HELMUT FOHRINGER / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT (Photo by HELMUT FOHRINGER/APA/AFP via Getty Images)
Customers at a DIY store in Vienna on Tuesday after it reopened. (APA/AFP via Getty Images)

Germany is set to announce a gradual easing of its lockdown measures on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Poland will start allowing shops to reopen on Sunday.

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In Spain, workers from the manufacturing and construction industries were allowed to return to work on Monday, while small shops have also reopened in Italy.

Spain and Italy are two of the worst-hit countries in the world in terms of coronavirus deaths.

Countries such as South Korea, meanwhile, have managed to restrict the spread of COVID-19 without any lockdown measures.

Read more: How South Korea is successfully tackling COVID-19 without shutting down the country

South Korea is held as a world-leading example for its handling of the outbreak, having initially been the second worst affected country behind China.

It has managed to restrict the spread of coronavirus – and keep its shops and businesses open – thanks to its extensive testing and contact tracing, a strategy which the UK government did not pursue at the beginning of the outbreak.

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South Koreans can also use a mobile phone app which lets people know when an infected person is approaching their vicinity.

On Tuesday, South Korea recorded just 27 new COVID-19 cases, while there have only been 222 deaths.

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