‘Is it going to work? I’m not sure, to be honest’: Epidemiologists hit out at Britain’s approach to coronavirus – as other countries around the world are ‘firefighting’ the pandemic
- Experts questioning why Britain hasn’t adopted same measures as other nations
- Italy, France and Spain are now on lockdown as the number of cases surged
- The government has still not imposed bans on sporting events or shut schools
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Epidemiologists have hit out at Britain’s approach to coronavirus as other countries around the world are ‘firefighting’ the pandemic.
As the world remains in the grip of the deadly pandemic, many are questioning why Britain has failed to implement similar draconian measures seen in other countries.
While Italy, Spain and France are in total lockdown, America shuts its doors to travellers from Europe and the streets of China are desolate, the UK appears to be carrying on as normal.
‘They’re trying to walk this terrible balance between not alarming the public, not hurting the economy, but making sure you try to flatten this epidemic,’ Roy Anderson, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College London told The New York Times.
Commuters on the London Underground are continuing to go about their daily lives amid warnings Britain is on the same trajectory as Italy
‘Is it going to work? I’m not sure, to be honest.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired an emergency Cobra committee on Friday where he declared the UK’s tactics will shift from ‘containing’ the killer disease to merely ‘delaying’ its inevitable spread.
Mr Johnson branded the coronavirus as the ‘worst public health crisis in a generation’ and warned that ‘many more’ will die.
But he said that the government would still not impose bans on sporting events and added that closing schools ‘could do more harm than good’.
‘The idea is more to minimize the number of casualties over the long term,’ Professor Francois Balloux an infectious disease epidemiologist at University College London said.
‘And that’s completely unique. All other countries are firefighting in the short term.’
Jeremy Hunt, who is now chair of the Commons health and social care select committee, has said he believes the PM must do more to encourage social distancing – and was particularly concerned care homes are not being told to ban visitors.
While Italy is in total lockdown, America shuts its doors to travellers from Europe and the streets of China are desolate, the UK appears to be carrying on as normal
Mr Stewart, who led the UK’s effort to fight ebola in Africa in 2019, said: ‘I think we can be very tough, and clear, [with the British public]. This is the worst pandemic we have had for 100 years.
‘The Government’s approach is essentially defeatist. They are saying we cannot suppress this. They say there is no point in spending a huge amount of money trying to suppress this, instead they are trying to manage the increase. We are taking far too much risk.
‘I think that is a dangerous thing to do. I don’t think if we allow this to spread it can be managed in that way.
‘And when you start getting serious numbers of people dying and the terrible choices that have to be made in hospitals, people will think that paying the cost early, now, was the right thing to do’.
Italy, Spain and France are now on lockdown as the number of cases have surged across Europe
Worried residents queued up outside a supermarket in Irun near San Sebastian, Spain, after the Spanish government declared a state of emergency
Debate is raging over whether the Prime Minister has gone far enough to protect the UK’s 66million people from the pandemic.
The total number of cases in the UK leapt from 820 this morning to 1,145 this afternoon. 21 people have so far died from the virus in the UK.
Italy, Spain and France are now on lockdown as the number of cases have surged across Europe.