Health leaders in the UK have called for a “rapid and forward-looking assessment” of the state of national preparedness for a second wave
Health leaders in the UK are calling for an urgent review to ensure that Britain is sufficiently prepared for the “real risk” of a second wave of COVID-19.
This comes as setting out the latest easing of the lockdown, the Prime Minister says the two-metre social distancing rule will be reduced to one-metre plus from the 4th of July.
Ministers have been warned by the health leaders that urgent action is needed in order to prevent further losses of life and to protect the UK’s economy amid growing fears of a second coronavirus outbreak taking place in the winter.
This appeal is backed by the presidents of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Surgeons, GPs and Nursing, and is also being supported by the chairman of the British Medical Association.
This follows Boris Johnson’s announcement of a reduction in the two-metre social distancing rule, as well as giving the green light for pubs, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers and barbers in England to begin to re-open from the 4th of July.
In an open letter to the political leaders of all the UK parties, published in the British Medical Journal, the health leaders called for a “rapid and forward-looking assessment” into the state of national preparedness if a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic were to occur.
“While the future shape of the pandemic in the UK is hard to predict, the available evidence indicates that local flare ups are increasingly likely and a second wave a real risk,” they said.
“Many elements of the infrastructure needed to contain the virus are beginning to be put in place, but substantial challenges remain.
“The job now is not only to deal urgently with the wide-ranging impacts of the first phase of the pandemic, but to ensure that the country is adequately prepared to contain a second phase.”
Sir David King, a former chief scientific adviser, has said that the further easing of the nationwide lockdown announced by the Prime Minister was “extraordinarily risky”.
He also stressed the risks of a second wave of the coronavirus, saying:
“We know the winter is a likely period when the virus takes off again. We must therefore aim to get completely rid of the virus from this country before the winter.”
“If we move too quickly, which is what I think is being proposed here, the risk of running into a second wave becomes very significant.”
Sir David also said that England still lacks an effective test and trace system fro COVID-19, meaning that the country is “travelling in the dark” as lockdown restrictions are eased further.
When asked if he thinks the UK government went against the advice of their scientific advisers in announcing a further easing of the nationwide lockdown measures, Sir David says: “I think this is definitely a political decision.”