After days of anticipation, the government finally announced yesterday that the UK is now in the delay phase. But if you were hoping for severer measures in the government’s coronavirus action plan, you must have been disappointed. Thursday’s Cobra meeting ran well into the afternoon.
When Ireland decided to close all schools and colleges and restrict numbers at public gatherings, similar measures seemed likely. In other European countries, too, strict social distancing rules apply. From sporting fixtures right through to concerts and visits to art galleries, in most European countries, they’re all off-limits.
But not in the UK. The Prime Minister and his team of experts believe that such restrictions would be premature. If you were to impose them now, you do not have them at your disposal when the curve is at its steepest. Repeatedly, the PM insisted the government is following the advice of top medical and epidemiological experts. But the trouble is, countries that have introduced stricter measures are taking guidance from experts too. As we are dealing with an unprecedented outbreak, making accurate predictions and tailoring a coronavirus action plan to them is impossible.
Two peas in a pod – Boris and Donald
As you can imagine, it took about five minutes for people to compare Boris’ coronavirus action plan with Trump’s unanimously castigated non-approach. The US President appears to have no intention of imposing restrictions on the US public choosing instead to ban Chinese and European travellers from entering the US. Meanwhile, individual states have introduced restrictions while sporting organisations like the NBA have suspended their activities.
In the UK, cancelling Cheltenham was never up for discussion. Closing schools like elsewhere may, according to the UK government, only mean that vulnerable grandparents may end up having to mind children. Infection risks at sporting events are believed to be minimal, making restrictions unnecessary, for now, at least.
Coronavirus action plan – European doctor slams the UK
Writing an anonymous opinion piece in Newsweek, a European doctor didn’t mince his words, saying that observing the US and UK approach was like watching a horror movie.
Italy, too, had started out with a lacklustre approach, comparing Covid19 to the flu and saying people would easily recover from it. Now, the situation is a little different:
“Fast-forward two months, and we are drowning. Statistically speaking – judging by the curve in China – we are not even at the peak yet, but our fatality rate is at over six per cent, double the known global average.”
He’s not alone in his criticism of the UK coronavirus action plan. John Ashton, former regional Public Health England director said that the UK “had wasted a month” in its fight against coronavirus. The Lancelet’s editor-in-chief, Richard Horton, accused the UK government of “playing roulette” with the health and lives of susceptible people.