Is there any evidence that closing bars at 10pm will stem the spread of coronavirus?

It seems that every aspect of Covid-19 will be contested. Students of the history of public health politics will be having a strong sense of deja vu: the field is littered with heated debates that in essence are about numbers.

a group of people walking in front of a store: Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

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Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Related: Pubs and restaurants urge PM to review 10pm curfew in England

As someone who has worked in the field of tobacco control for some 40 years, I have witnessed many such debates. First, there was the question of how risky smoking was; then the addictive nature of tobacco. There were questions over how much safer low-tar cigarettes were. Then, of course, there was the issue of the harmfulness of passive smoking. Most recently there was the claim that e-cigarettes were 95% less harmful than “normal” cigarettes.

To my mind these tobacco control dramas have had one important thing in common: a

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Boris Johnson ‘never discussed 10pm pub curfew with science advisers’

Pubs have to close at 10pm (Picture: Getty)
Pubs have to close at 10pm (Picture: Getty)

A scientist advising Boris Johnson has claimed he never heard the 10pm pub curfew plan discussed before it was announced. 

The prime minister told people in England this week to work from home where possible and ordered restaurants and bars to close early from Thursday to tackle a fast-spreading second wave of coronavirus.

Some politicians have questioned whether those measures go far enough, however, with the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, telling households they also cannot mix indoors. 

Professor Graham Medley, who sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) committee, has now said the group never talked about the impact the policy of closing hospitality services earlier would have on infection rates.

He said: “I never discussed it or heard it discussed.”

His colleague on Sage, Professor John Edmunds, also previously said the curfew was “fairly trivial” and would

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