British Medical Association says UK “has taken its foot off the brake”

british medical association COVID, Plan B
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Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of the British Medical Association (BMA), said the UK Government “has taken its foot off the brake” – as COVID hospitalisations and infections continue to rise

Yesterday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that the Government would not bring back social restrictions, dubbed ‘Plan B’, if enough older members of the population volunteer for their third booster dose of vaccine.

How bad is the UK COVID situation right now?

Currently, COVID hospitalisations, deaths and infections are on the rise in the UK. As of yesterday (20 October), there are 49,319 new cases of infection, and 179 deaths. There are 7,891 COVID patients in hospital.

While the 79% of the country is double-vaccinated, enforced distancing and mask mandates have been on pause for atleast three months now. Low take-up of vaccination is still an issue in some communities, leaving them extra-vulnerable to infection.

The general population have been advised by the UK Government that there is no need for restrictions, as long as vaccination is present. However, infections are still circulating.

According to the latest data from the UK-wide REACT study, children under the age of 17 have the fastest rising rate of infection. For this school-going population, the R is firmly above 1. Elderly or immunocompromised members of a household still relatively risk their lives, so that children can access their education.

BMA Chair describes COVID strategy as “wilfully negligent”

The decision to keep things as they are but push for further vaccination has been met with a mixed response.

The British Medical Association Chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, is against the COVID strategy decision.

Giving a statement in response, he further said: “The Government has taken its foot off the brake, giving the impression that the pandemic is behind us and that life has returned to normal. The reality today is an unacceptable rate of infections, hospitalisations and deaths, unheard of in similar European nations. In comparison to France, we have more than 10 times the number of cases and almost four times as many deaths per million.

In comparison to France, we have more than 10 times the number of cases

“It is wilfully negligent of the Westminster Government not to be taking any further action to reduce the spread of infection, such as mandatory mask wearing, physical distancing and ventilation requirements in high-risk settings, particularly indoor crowded spaces. These are measures that are the norm in many other nations.”

NHS Confederation chief says pressures are mounting

The NHS comes under extreme pressure every Winter. However, this time around the workforce is also facing blanket burnout, after pushing through two years of fighting COVID and attempting to manage a service backlog.

Also responding to the UK decision to continue without restrictions, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “We’ve heard the Secretary of State’s decision not to enact Plan B of the Government’s winter strategy and while we do not agree with him, we encourage him to keep reviewing the data and engaging with health leaders.

“Alongside that, there are measures the public can take to support frontline services this winter. This includes getting vaccinated against flu and coronavirus when invited, using frontline services responsibly, and volunteering to support, join or return to the workforce, if eligible.”


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