CORONAVIRUS: Why the UK is Getting It Wrong

12:49 PM

Spread of COVID-19 in UK could be worse than in Italy

Lessons from China not being learned 


There are worrying signs from the UK government, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, that the administration's handling of the rapid spread of CORONAVIRUS in the United Kingdom is based on political posturing, rather than medical science.

Does this mean that the UK will ignore the lessons being learned about the virus in Italy and in China?

British Stiff Upper Lip

The UK government seems determined to carry on as normal. Schools, universities and places of work — including Parliament — will remain open. Trains and buses will stick to their schedules. Under no circumstances will cities be closed off and their populations quarantined in their homes. The UK populace is being told to wash their hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds on each occasion. They are told to blow their noses into tissue and bin it. They are told not to touch their faces. They are told to stay at home if they are unwell. These steps are minimal, non-interventionist ones, designed to delay the inevitable spread of the virus.

Normality is to be preserved, no matter what. People in the UK are being told by the government that the mortality rate will be less than 1%, a figure based on the expectation that there are many more people with the virus than reported. On the other hand, the figure given by the World Health Organization (WHO) is 3.4%, a number that is holding up not just in China but in other major outbreaks around the world. Indeed, the WHO has urged governments around the world to spare no effort in taking pro-active measures to contain the spread of the virus.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

“Negligent” and “ridiculous” is how many doctors have described the UK government’s response to COVID-19. There are insufficient beds and health workers in Britain's hospitals, even at the best of times, and beds for the critically ill and ventilators are in even shorter supply. As the UK Chancellor Stands up today in the House of Commons, the eyes of the UK population - and the world - will be on how the UK administration copes with Coronavirus from both a political, and a medical perspective. The indications at the moment, though, are not encouraging. It is to be hoped that the British government can get the balance between political robustness and the welfare of the population of the UK right.

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Matthew Feargrieve

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