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Lockdown or a drip feed of Covid restrictions? One path is better for the economy

October 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Governments across Europe are claiming that they face an unenviable choice as the coronavirus pandemic rages on: Saving their economies or saving lives.

But in the UK and Ireland, scientific advisers have pushed for second national lockdowns, despite fears of an economic shock.

As a result of its spring lockdown, the UK economy shrank by 20% in the second quarter, pushing it into the deepest recession of any major developed economy.

"The number one priority is getting control of the virus," Andrew Goodwin, chief UK economist at advisory firm Oxford Economics, told CNN.

The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford told UK's Sky news that the country was also considering a short national lockdown.

Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics at King's College London, said "a successful strategy to suppress the virus is the best thing for the economy" even if it means the government needs to borrow more to fund support for businesses and households.

Being able to afford a second lockdown is simply not one of the top five economic problems facing the UK right now. "

Robert West, professor of health psychology at University College London, said a future national lockdown in the UK is likely regardless of ongoing worries about the shock it will deliver to the economy because cases are rising so quickly.

But he says the key is for the government to use the time spent in lockdown to improve systems that can help control the virus once the restrictions are lifted.

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