UK unlikely to return to mandatory Covid-19 restrictions as cases rise

More than 1.7 million Brits – or about 1 in 35 people – tested positive for Covid in the week leading up to June 18, according to the latest figures from the UK Office for National Statistics released on Friday.

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LONDON. Mandatory Covid-19 restrictions are unlikely to be reintroduced in the UK this summer, health researchers and doctors have said, even as the country enters a new wave of infections.

More than 1.7 million Britons – or about 1 in 35 people – tested positive for Covid in the week leading up to June 18, according to the latest figures from the UK Office for National Statistics. showed Friday.

The spike is 75% more than two weeks earlier, when the country celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. It’s also ahead of a summer of large-scale music and sports events that can further enhance the skill.

However, health researchers and doctors say they do not foresee a return to mandatory public health measures unless there is a major change in the behavior of the virus.

“I don’t think we will have any mandatory restrictions unless the situation becomes unmanageable for the health service, and especially the intensive care service,” Simon Clark, assistant professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, told CNBC on Monday.

Most of the new infections are caused by the BA.4 and BA.5 omicrons, two newer variants that have now become dominant strains in UKThe UK Health Protection Agency announced this on Friday.

While both have been called “variants of concern,” the scientists say there is currently no evidence that they cause more serious illness than previous strains, and they are unlikely to behave radically differently.

Any change in approach, if it occurs, will come with significant pressure on intensive care units, Clark said. Hospitalizations have risen by 8.2% over the past week, but ICU and ICU admission rates are still low at 0.2%, according to the UKHSA.

“ITC is the bottleneck in this matter, and that is where you will see – if you see – the inability to cope,” Clarke said.

“Life with Covid”

The UK government is committed to its ‘living with Covid’ strategy as all restrictions have been lifted in England. in February this year.

Last week, England’s former deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van Tam, said the virus was becoming more like seasonal flu and that it was now up to individuals to “articulate these risks to themselves.”

“In terms of lethality, the picture is now much, much, much closer to seasonal flu than it was when [Covid] appeared for the first time, he said. BBC Radio 4 program “Today”.

National Clinical Director for Scotland repeated these comments On Sunday, he told the BBC that “dramatic” changes would be needed to bring back mandatory restrictions.

“People are going back to their business. Glastonbury is coming, TRNSMT will be next week,” Professor Jason Leitch said, referring to the two UK music festivals in Somerset and Glasgow respectively. “All these things are very, very important to bring back.”

However, he acknowledged that people will need to agree to a few “small prices” to ensure normality is maintained, such as getting vaccinated on time, wearing masks where appropriate, and not working when sick.

The government has already committed to providing additional revaccinations this fall to people over 65, frontline health and social workers, and vulnerable young people.

However, Clarke said it would be prudent to extend the program to people over 50 ahead of the winter months, when the country could face a bigger spike in infections.

“Immunity from boosters is already beginning to wane and will further decrease by the end of the year,” Clarke said, adding that this could be a more important period to watch in terms of restrictions.

British Health Minister Sajid Javid suggested last week that the government may consider expanding the program.