Lockdown in the UK 'should continue for the next 12 weeks', says public health expert
“Get those numbers down, protect the NHS for the next 12 weeks”
A public health expert has said that the United Kingdom should remain in lockdown for the next 12 weeks.
Professor Devi Sridhar, chair of public health at Edinburgh University, was speaking to Times Radio when she suggested an extended lockdown was needed to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases in the UK and alleviate pressure on the NHS.
“With the numbers we’re at, there’s no other choice," said Professor Sridhar, as the UK announced a further 54,940 positive cases in the past 24 hours.
“For me, it’s a three-phase strategy; first is right now, it’s crude, it’s catastrophic for the economy and for people’s mental health, but a lockdown.
“Get those numbers down, protect the NHS for the next 12 weeks.
"When we get into March and hopefully numbers are low again and we get into seasonal change, get your testing and tracing and your border measures in place to really suppress," Professor Sridhar said, before warning that the UK must look ahead to the winter, rather than complete reopen society in summer, if we are to "clear the virus" and avoid a repeat of winter 2020.
“And then in the summer, instead of taking your foot off the gas and saying ‘let’s open up everything’, actually think ‘how do we prevent this winter from happening again? How do we actually protect that low prevalence, get emergency teams in place in case there are flare ups… go in, have a quick, sharp one-week lockdown and get your testing and tracing to clear the virus.
"We are not at the mercy of this virus where whatever it does we have to react. We can dictate how this evolves but we need a bit more agency in being more proactive and ahead of it instead of always behind it.”
In the last seven days, 417,570 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK, with more than 6,000 Covid-related deaths recorded in that period.
According to analysis by Edge Heath, the extent of the Covid-19 crisis could be much worse than feared, with the number of potential cases as high as 12.4 million as of January 3rd, compared to 2.4 million detected by the government's track and trace system.