Breakers must now be deployed in England to stop the spread of Covid-19, experts say


In England, an immediate national breaker is needed to halt the spread of the coronavirus and the government’s three tier system “is not enough to reverse growth,” experts have warned.

The Independent Sage scientific research group has put in place a six-week emergency plan to bring the Covid-19 infection rate below 5,000 per day.

On Friday, new data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed an average of 27,900 new cases of Covid-19 per day between October 2 and 8.

The group’s blueprint also calls for an “urgent reform” of the NHS test and trace system.

Independent Sage’s proposals for a two- to three-week lockdown include immediate closings of schools, non-essential retail and business, recreational and hospitality (take-out), and places of worship.

It also calls for a return to physical distancing of two meters, a ban on mixing households outside of support bubbles and a switch to online teaching at universities.

If we don’t take this opportunity, we are doomed to a groundhog day that once that time is up and things relax, we will rise again

The group adds that the breaker should be followed by a period of continued restrictions sufficient to keep the R number below one while schools can remain open.

Dr. Gabriel Scally, former NHS doctor and professor of public health at the University of Bristol, said, “Our contingency plan gives us the opportunity not only to bring the virus back to much lower levels, but also the opportunity to set the framework one to make sure it stays there.

“If we don’t take this opportunity, we are doomed to Groundhog Day, when once that time is over and things relax, we will rise again.”

He added, “Enough is enough. Fighting this virus without an effective system of finding, testing, tracking, isolating and supporting that is properly integrated and run at the local level by the NHS and local authorities. Fighting without this system is like fighting with one hand behind your back.

“At the moment we’re doing it, and that’s why we’re losing.”

Professor Christina Pagel of University College London said: “Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing across England. The tiered system will not be enough to reverse growth.

“Despite living under Tier 2 restrictions for four weeks in many areas and three weeks of Tier 1 restrictions in other areas, cases were increasing rapidly everywhere.”

She added, “We agree with Sage and believe that it will take a keen national breaker for two to three weeks, followed by three to four weeks of sustained restrictions, to stop the current wave in its tracks and tens of thousands of new cases as well Thousands of cases prevent hospitalizations.

“This gives us valuable time to build public health and social scaffolds to help ease restrictions and get us back to life.

“We mustn’t waste this time.”


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