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Socially disruptive measures will exist in Britain until at least the end of the year

Published on 23/04/20 at 12:23pm
Photo by GoToVan

England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has said that the UK will have to live with some form of socially disruptive measures for at least the rest of the year.

Speaking at the government’s daily briefing on Wednesday, Whitty said: “This disease will not be eradicated, it will not disappear. In the long run, the exit from this is going to be one of two things, ideally. A vaccine, and there are a variety of ways they can be deployed, or highly effective drugs so that people stop dying of this disease even if they catch it, or which can prevent this disease in vulnerable people.

“Until we have those, and the probability of having those any time in the next calendar year are incredibly small, I think we should be realistic about that, we're going to have to rely on other social measures, which of course are very socially disruptive, as everyone is finding at the moment.

“But until that point, that is what we will have to do but it will be the best combination that maximises the outlooks. But it's going to take a long time and I think we need to be aware of that.”

It has been estimated that the peak may have been reached in terms of cases and deaths. It is estimated that deaths from COVID-19 in the UK have reached 17,000 but a Financial Times analysis of the latest data from the Office for National Statistics puts the number close to 41,000 deaths.

The government is currently pursuing studies to acquire information to help ease the lockdown restrictions. Currently, twenty thousand households in England are being contacted to take part in a study to track coronavirus in the general population. It aims to understand the rate of infection levels and how people build immunity to the virus.

Health experts and MPs have warned about easing the lockdown. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said that when businesses do reopen, social distancing will still have to be in effect. He added: “One of the most damaging things for our economy would be if we came out of lockdown too early.”

Conor Kavanagh

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