The Nottingham Trent University professor was quizzed by Sky News’ Samantha Washington regarding the difference between the risk of transmission of the coronavirus at one metre compared to two metres. Professor Dingwall claimed that the risk of transmission from over one metre has been exaggerated and pointed out that Denmark has officially reduced their recommended distance to one metre.
The Sky News host said: “Now the two-metre rule is what is holding back many sectors of the economy from reopening because they can’t operate like that.
“The UK is an outlier here, the WHO says one metre, many European countries say 1.5 metres, what do you think about the logic behind that?”
Professor Dingwall replied: “Well, it is not just the WHO, the Danish Government officially moved to one metre about two weeks ago.
“There is probably an exaggeration on the risk of transmission beyond one metre.
Dingwall stated if social distancing rules were reduced to one metre the impact on risk would be low
The importance of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic
“Even at one metre, there is a reasonable margin of safety.
“That makes a big difference because with the two-metre rule the safe zone around a person is about 12.5 square metres.
“At one metre the safe zone around a person is 3.1 square metres.
“So you could get about 4 times as many people into any given space with no significant impact on the risk of transmission in that environment.”
On Thursday, Matt Hancock has confirmed that the UK Government is contemplating reducing the distance that people are advised to stand away from each other during an interview with LBC.
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Nick Ferrari that there is a possibility of the two-metre rule being relaxed.
Mr Ferrari said: “The Prime Minister seemed to indicate yesterday that he is keen to look at this two-metre rule and a possible relaxation of it, what can you tell me?”
Mr Hancock replied: “The scientists are going to look at it.
Matt Hancock stated that the 2 metre rule may be relaxed
“It doesn’t change the science that if you are closer then you are more likely to transmit.
“The scientists tell me that they reckon at one metre for one minute that has the same risk of transmission as being at two metres for 15 minutes.
“So it does make a big difference to transmission, being closer to someone, but the scientists are going to look at it again and put forward some advice.”
On Wednesday Boris Johnson told the Liaison Committee: “My own hope is that as we make progress in getting the virus down, in reducing the incidence, that we will be able to reduce that distance, which I think will be particularly valuable in transport and clearly the hospitality sector.”