The government has announced an extension to the UK’s lockdown, but the science suggests transmission rates have dropped.

A question is looming: when and how to lift the lockdown?

The politicians say they’re guided by the scientific advice. The scientists say it’s a decision for the politicians. Who, then, should we look to for answers?

Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee put this question to a group of scientists on Thursday afternoon. Perhaps, when they began, they hoped to find hard truths about the situation.

If they did, they will have been disappointed.

The only area in which there was unequivocal consensus was in the conditions necessary to lift the lockdown. After that, the clarity vanished.

First, those conditions. The most important is also the most obvious: the epidemic needs to be under control.

In technical terms, this means bringing the reproductive rate below one, so an infected individual only infects one other person on average.

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