While UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on October 16 imposed local restrictions in areas of rising trajectories of the coronavirus case count, advisor for UK’s COVID-19 testing programme called for an immediate ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown nationwide. John Bell, professor of medicine at the University of Oxford called for shutting all non-essential businesses and imposing a ban on households mixing as the only means to stem the rising coronavirus infections as the second wave hit the UK.
UK PM Boris Johnson told the house of commons that he was looking to shield the economy, as he announced additional restrictions in Westminster, Wales, and Scotland, keeping the areas with low case count open. The move was questioned by several national health experts as the country stumbled on the brink of a second wave of infections, and many scientists criticized Boris Johnson’s government as “too slow to act”, according to sources of UK’s The Observer.
While the UK hit almost 20,000 cases of the novel coronavirus as of October 16, UK’s Independent Sage group of scientists called for urgent reforms, including Sir John Bell, who said that there was a “little way” of getting on top of the second wave without a circuit breaker. In an on-air address on UK’s BBC Radio Four, Regius Professor said that coronavirus numbers in the country were actually pretty “eye-watering” in some parts and it will be almost impossible to bring transmission down by “biting around the edges”.
We’re simplifying and standardising local rules in England by introducing three Local COVID Alert levels, with each level accompanied by proportionate restrictions.
Starmer urged for circuit breaker
There will be every effort to keep schools open, but just to paint the picture, there are universities in this country which have 50, 60, 70 percent of their kids in quarantine. This is not a good place to be, Bell said in his radio address. Further, he added, that if in the end to control the pandemic, the government had to stop the kids for two weeks, calm the wave down, and then start again, ideally embedded in a much more rigorous testing regime, than that’s maybe what it will have to do.
Bell’s circuit breaker suggestion was backed by Britain’s teachers’ union. Earlier, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer had asked Boris Johnson government to impose a two-to-three week-long circuit breaker to avoid a “sleepwalk into a long and bleak winter”. A circuit-breaker is a rotational lockdown, which, when imposed, lasts two to three weeks before easing the restrictions to curb the COVID-19 transmission rate.