Left Menu
Development News Edition

UK minister suggests local lockdowns to fight second coronavirus spike

PTI | London | Updated: 31-05-2020 16:52 IST | Created: 31-05-2020 16:48 IST
UK minister suggests local lockdowns to fight second coronavirus spike
File photo Image Credit: Flickr

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Sunday defended the government's easing of the coronavirus lockdown and indicated that a more localized and targeted approach would be adopted if there is a second spike in the infection rate. The UK is set to relax a number of social distancing restrictions from Monday, including the opening of primary schools and outdoor markets as well as some domestic competitive sports behind closed doors.

Scientists advising the British government on its pandemic strategy have voiced concerns over the relaxation of measures coming too soon, which may lead to a second peak of the deadly virus that has claimed over 38,000 lives in the UK. "If there's an uptick in any particular locality or setting, we've got the ability to take targeted measures," Raab told the BBC. He stressed that progress had been made, with the number of new cases and of those critically ill COVID-19 cases falling.

"Because we've made that progress, steadily, slowly, surely, week in, week, out, we can – very gradually, very carefully – take the steps that we are taking tomorrow… Of course, we won't take any further steps, or indeed we'll have to take further restrictive measures if we find any uptick in the virus," he said. The easing of rules from Monday means groups of up to six people can now meet outdoors, with further relaxations set to come in from June 15 -- when retail venues and sporting events such as football are also set to return within coronavirus-secure conditions.

"Obviously this is a sensitive moment, but we can't just stay in lockdown forever. We have got to transition. The more we transition through careful steps the more I think we will build up confidence in the approach we are taking," Raab told 'Sky News'. A key element of the gradual opening of the UK economy is a new test and trace system, under which National Health Service (NHS) tracing teams are set to identify people who have been in contact with coronavirus patients and getting them to self-isolate for 14 days.

This is expected to keep a lid on the reproduction rate (R rate) of the virus which must stay below the mark of one, where it is currently. Raab said the system has the capacity to trace the contacts for up to 10,000 cases.

"We are confident that this is the right step to be taking at this moment in time," he said. The senior Cabinet minister admitted that England remains at Level 4 of the government's five-level barometer set for a pandemic -- higher the level, higher the restrictions.

However, he stressed that the reason to "cautiously" ease out of the lockdown at this stage is that the country was "transitioning" to Level 3. At least two members of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which is advising on the pandemic response, have expressed concerns over the lifting of restrictions at this stage.

Professor John Edmunds and Sir Jeremy Farrar fear ministers are taking risks by allowing the gradual reopening of shops and schools and larger gatherings to meet in private. "I think we are taking some risk here," Edmunds said, while Farrar added that the newly-introduced NHS test and trace system needed to be "fully working" before measures were eased.



Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...


Latest News

Fabinho aims to win Liverpool's all remaining games of season

Liverpools Fabinho has asserted that they will do their best to finish the season on a high as he aims to win all the remaining games of their campaign. Always when we go out onto the pitch, we go to win. We dont look at the opponent, we ju...

MP: Congress MLA quits party, joins BJP

In a setback for the Madhya Pradesh Congress, its MLA Pradyuman Singh Lodhi resigned from the party as well as membership of the state Assembly and joined the BJP on Sunday. Lodhi, who represented the Bada Malhera Assembly seat in Chhatarpu...

17 fresh coronavirus cases detected in UP's Muzaffarnagar

Seventeen people tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, including six employees of UP Power Corporation Limited and two policemen, taking the number of active patients in the district to 123, officials saidAccording to health department so...

Corporate funding in solar sector falls 76 pc in H1 2020 to USD 462 mn: Report

Total corporate funding in Indias solar energy sector dropped 76 per cent to USD 462 million about Rs 3,474 crore in the first half of 2020, a report said. Corporate funding includes venture capital funding, public market, and debt financin...

Give Feedback