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The government was advised to bring in a form of lockdown in England by its scientific advisory group on 21 September. Instead, it opted first for 22:00 GMT closing of pubs and restaurants. This was followed a few weeks later by its tier system where the greatest restrictions would be placed in the worst-hit areas. Purely from a public health point of view, bringing in a lockdown when the experts advised it would have been the sensible thing to do. It would have been shorter, brought cases down more quickly and given the test-and-trace system a chance to catch up with the rise in cases.But minsters had to consider the economic impact as well as the politics. They had hoped their light-touch approach might have been enough to control the spread of the virus while preserving jobs and businesses.Many scientists on the scientific advisory group were deeply sceptical at the time that this would work. All of them appreciate the difficult decisions ministers are faced with and none of them take any satisfaction from having been proved right.