Business leaders, scientists and doctors have called on the government to take a more balanced approach in its coronavirus response, saying lockdowns and restrictions have far-reaching implications on mental health and the economy.
The Recovery campaign has been backed by several prominent figures including hotelier Rocco Forte, entrepreneur Luke Junson and leading performing arts promoter Harvey Goldsmith.
The group has argued that the “consequences of hysteria and rushed legislation can be worse than the virus itself”.
It has set out a list of demands to the government, calling on it to hold a public inquiry into the crisis, to consider the impact of lockdowns on both physical and mental health and to get the economy back on track.
The group also urged ministers to “safeguard all that makes life worth living”.
“We are all used to balancing decisions about quality of life against quantity of life in what we do every day – we do it even when we decide to cross the road.
“The government has taken that out of our hands, saying that quantity of life is the absolute goal and quality of life must be destroyed to achieve it.
“The reaction to Covid-19 has seen livelihoods ruined, performing arts banned, grandparents told they can’t hug their grandchildren, young people forced to live for months in isolation.”
Another of the demands asks that restrictions are lifted if there is no evidence that they are tackling the spread of coronavirus.
Recovery co-founder Jon Dobinson, chief executive of Other Creative, said: “My mum survived Covid-19, so did my colleagues at work. It’s not fun.
“But when someone close to me died, it was because of the mental stress of lockdown rather than Covid-19: I saw in the most tragic way that harsh restrictions carry their own threat to life.”
“Once again, lives are threatened by a mistaken belief and people want to silence those who speak up for a better approach by marginalising and smearing them.
“I know how that feels and how important it is to make sure they’re heard. This time, millions of lives in my own country are at stake.
“The future for all of us depends on a balanced response to Covid-19 and a proper public debate that ensures we pursue the best policies. That’s why I started Recovery.”