CAPE TOWN- Britain might face a three-week national lockdown to stop Covid-19 transmissions from spiraling as government scientific adviser Jeremy Farrar said current regional measures would not be effective.
Farrar’s recommendations come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that there would be a new series of local lockdown restrictions which will consist of three tiers: medium, high and very high. Certain regions may have more restrictions and others and people in the region will not be allowed to mix with people from other households indoors or outdoors, and pubs and bars not serving meals will be required to shut.
“The current tiered restrictions will not bring the transmission rates down sufficiently or prevent the continued spread of the virus,” said Farrar who is also the director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.
Official figures show that the UK’s R number – the number of people each coronavirus case infects – has increased from between 1.2 and 1.5 the previous week to between 1.3 and 1.5. An R number between 1.3 and 1.5 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 13 and 15 other people.
The response needs to be immediate according to Farrar and putting it off would only worsen and lengthen the crisis.
“A three-week period of nationally increased restrictions, with the right levels of financial support, will allow us to reset before winter, stop transmission spiraling, protect and prepare health services, give time to get the test-trace-isolate systems fully functional, and save lives,” he said.
The current trajectory of this phase of the epidemic is now beyond what was outlined in the 'reasonable worst case scenario". https://t.co/pCJSDn7jXX
— Jeremy Farrar (@JeremyFarrar) October 16, 2020
Earlier this month the World Health Organization’s special envoy on Covid-19, Dr. David Nabarro, urged world leaders to avoid using lockdowns as a primary control method for Covid-19 and that countries should develop better systems for containing virus outbreaks.
Lockdowns can only be justified when a country needs to reorganise, rebalance their resources, and protect their health workers who are exhausted.
“We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus. This is a terrible, ghastly global catastrophe, and so we really do appeal to all world leaders to stop using lockdown as your primary control method, develop better systems, work together, and learn from eachother,” said Nabarro.
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