UK could return to lockdown next month, warns former government adviser

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The UK will be on lockdown again next month when schools open unless the ‘disastrous’ track and trace system is fixed, the government’s former chief scientific adviser warns.
Britain could be hit by another full lockdown unless Boris Johnson solves the country’s test-and-trace “disaster,” a former government adviser has warned.

Sir David King urged the prime minister to ‘get it right’ in August before schools reopen, or face a second wave of coronavirus infections that would cripple the economy and risk thousands more deaths.

There were 758 new coronavirus infections today, 13 fewer than last Saturday, and the closed Northwest has seen no hospital deaths in the past 24 hours.

But as Britons flocked from beaches to bars on a scorching weekend, concerns arose that the country is not prepared to avoid another wave.

Sir David King urged the prime minister to ‘get it right’ in August before schools reopen, or face a second wave of coronavirus infections that would cripple the economy and risk thousands more deaths.

‘We need a proper test and trace system by September. Otherwise, the full opening of the school will bring us back immediately, ” Sir David told the Sunday Mirror.

Tony Blair’s former chief scientific adviser now heads the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, following the Prime Minister’s science team.

‘The Government has a month to deal with the level of infectivity as it is now. Reopening schools should be a priority, but we believe we are nowhere near the point where it can be done safely, ” he said.


There were 758 new coronavirus infections today, 13 fewer than last Saturday, and the closed Northwest has seen no hospital deaths in the past 24 hours.


He added that schools were “nowhere near” having a safe reopening and could lead to an increase in the reproduction rate of about 0.5.

The latest government figures showed that the national ‘R’ rate was between 0.8 and 1, just below the point where the virus begins to spread again.

He hopes the government will continue to back the lockdowns, but believes there may come a time when it has to be enforced at the national level once again.

Sir David also criticized the current privately run test-and-trace system, which was basically “one phone call and no follow-up.”

Instead, the contract that says it should be taken out of the hands of the service provider Serco and handed over to the municipalities.

‘Serco’s contract will be renewed this month. They have had roughly £ 100 million so far. They will get £ 300 million if it expands. This is not working.’


Sir David added that the schools were “ nowhere near ” having a safe reopening and could cause an increase in the reproduction rate of about 0.5

He added that public health councils and agencies would be better able to manage regional outbreaks if they got worse, rather than companies “with no health experience.”

Official figures show that cases in the UK have reached 309,763, with 46,566 deaths. WHO figures show 19,187,943 confirmed cases worldwide and 716,075 deaths.

Stronger lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures are being re-imposed in the US, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and other countries.

The Academy of Medical Sciences has estimated that up to 120,000 people here could die from Covid-19 this winter.

Obese people will be asked to stay indoors in coronavirus hot spots
Obese people in areas of localized coronavirus outbreaks could be asked to protect themselves along with other vulnerable groups, it has been claimed.

As part of a government review of how the NHS has categorized people as ‘vulnerable’, those who are severely overweight could join large numbers of people over the age of 50 to isolate themselves from the virus.

A cabinet minister described the plan as a “stiletto, not mallet” approach to tackling outbreaks, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

But another minister said: ‘They are understanding that age does come into play … The protection cohort is too broad; It cannot be said that every fat person has to protect himself. It will be more subtle. ‘

It is understood that the Government wants a “more sophisticated model” of shielding that considers several factors for each person.

Source By William Cole for Mailonline

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