Dawn dawning? UK epidemic improves, Prime Minister Johnson announces roadmap for unblocking
China News Service, February 23. According to a comprehensive report, after the UK launched a large-scale COVID-19 vaccination program, 17.6 million people have so far received at least the first dose of the vaccine, accounting for about a quarter of the country’s population. As the infection and death curve is showing a downward trend, on the 22nd, British Prime Minister Johnson officially announced the road map for unblocking England, and plans to gradually relax the epidemic prevention measures from March.
[The school is the first to unblock teachers and students twice a week]
According to Johnson’s unblocking plan, the school will be the first to unblock it. All schools in England will resume classes on March 8th, which will improve the safety of teachers and students twice a week, and the public will have limited outdoor social activities.
Johnson described that the epidemic has affected the academic and physical and mental health of school children, and resuming classes is the first step in returning to a normal life. Although some teachers’ unions think that the government’s approval of the full resumption of classes is too reckless, the decision has been supported by members of the Labour Party who have always opposed the resumption of classes. Vaccine Minister Zahavi also emphasized that resuming classes is a safe decision under large-scale virus testing.
In Scotland, local kindergarten and primary one to three students returned to school on the 22nd. Schools need to arrange for students to wash their hands regularly, open windows for ventilation, and keep a distance of 2 meters between adults and between adults and children.
At the same time as classes are resuming, the authorities will also relax the restrictions on indoor visits in nursing homes, allowing one designated relative or friend to visit the residents, and at the same time relax the outdoor gathering restrictions, allowing two people from different families to gather .
From March 29, the outdoor gathering restriction order will be relaxed to 6 people, while allowing outdoor sports venues to reopen. As for non-essential shops, they will be unblocked in April, bars and restaurants will be able to resume dine-in from May, and the six-person indoor gathering order will be relaxed in June. The goal is to resume normal life in July.
[The city has been closed for vaccines, the infection rate has dropped sharply in the past six weeks]
As one of the countries hardest hit by the new crown epidemic, more than 4.1 million people in the UK have been infected and 120,000 have died.
Since the beginning of January, the number of new confirmed cases and deaths in the country has continued to decline every day. Some epidemiologists pointed out that in the past six weeks, the infection rate in the UK has dropped significantly; the number of new infections in the last seven days has fallen by more than 10% compared with the previous seven days, and the number of deaths has fallen by 27%.
Analysis believes that the “combined punch” of closing the city and adding vaccine has a significant effect on curbing the epidemic.
However, whether the lockdown should be lifted at present, many parties still hold their own opinions. The British Medical Association believes that only when the number of infected people drops below 1,000 per day can the restrictions be relaxed significantly. In the past seven days, the average number of new diagnoses in the UK every day exceeded 10,000.
In addition, schools in England are about to resume classes, and whether children should be vaccinated is also controversial. British Health Secretary Hancock said that many parties are conducting trials to assess the safety and effectiveness of the new crown vaccine for younger people. The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca have announced the opening of clinical trials of the vaccine for children aged 6 to 17.
Edmonds, a key member of the United Kingdom’s Emergency Scientific Advisory Group (SAGE), emphasized that the new crown epidemic “still has a major risk of re-epidemic” before everyone in the country, including children, is vaccinated. It will take several months for Britain to vaccinate the entire population.
p >[Careful unblocking, all stages need to meet the “four major conditions”]
The UK has entered the third lockdown since the beginning of January. The Johnson government’s slow epidemic prevention actions and early relaxation of restrictions have led to The epidemic rebounded and was criticized.
This time Johnson promised to learn from the lesson. In order to prevent the unblocking pace from being too fast, Johnson proposed that the “four major conditions” must be met before each stage of unblocking, which is whether the vaccination plan is progressing well. The government expects whether the vaccine is effective in reducing severe cases and deaths, whether the infection rate will cause the medical system to collapse, and whether the emergence of a new variant virus will make the epidemic worse.
According to the report, the authorities have expected that the confirmed cases and infection rate may rise after the school resumes, but they believe that the most important thing is whether the number of severely ill patients will increase significantly and whether the medical system can afford it by then. The number of confirmed cases has increased but there are not many severely ill patients, and the authorities will not necessarily stop the unblocking due to this.
However, many Conservative Party members criticized that Johnson’s road map for unblocking was too conservative, and they believed that they should be completely unblocked as soon as possible. Some members pointed out that according to the current vaccination plan, people under the age of 50 should be vaccinated before mid-April, and the authorities have no reason not to fully unblock it before the end of April.