LONDON-About half of England is under the country’s strictest lockdown measures. People are ordered to stay at home, but the coronavirus is still spreading at an alarming rate. During the pandemic, hospitals treated more patients than ever, the number of new infections set a daily record, and there was growing debate about returning thousands of students to classrooms after holidays.
American scientists said that this virus is clearly more contagious and is driving an increase in cases. Since strict restrictions have been imposed on more than 48 million people, it is not clear what other tools the government can use to control the outbreak under control.
As the government plans to hold a meeting on Wednesday to assess its restrictions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to impose another nationwide lockdown and ask them to transfer students, especially senior students in colleges and universities, who are more vulnerable. Infection of new virus variants, distance learning.
Some people want to see a drop in the number of cases per day because of restrictions in London and South and East England around Christmas Start to have an effect.
But the powerful combination of this new virus, the imminent return to school, and the measures that allow people in low-risk areas to meet indoors on Christmas Day, makes people worry that the new year may get worse.
Andrew Hayward, Professor of Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at University College London, told the BBC: “We are entering a very dangerous new phase of a pandemic, and we need to take decisive early national action to prevent January and The disaster of February.”.
A growing body of research supports this concern that new virus variants may be more contagious than variants that have spread rapidly in widespread transmission.
Although dozens of countries prohibit British travelers from travelling, this variant is still popular in countries around the world.
The British government has turned to a now-familiar tool library to control this variant, increasing activity restrictions, closing businesses, and limiting the number of people that can gather.
Although officials blamed this increase on variants, many rules are difficult to enforce on a large scale, and it is difficult to know what role individual actions might play.
Johnson’s handling of the flu pandemic was characterized by last-minute decisions and reversals, which intensified public suspicion and anger, but the government has been trying to keep schools open.
Since the summer, the government has been giving priority to keeping students in classrooms, even in areas with severe outbreaks and during the country’s second national lockdown in November. In the early days of the pandemic, after students spent online popular courses at home, Mr. Johnson called the school’s reopening a “moral obligation” in August, and promised that if the virus recurred, “the last thing we must do All you have to do is close the school.”
The British approach is similar to that of many European countries. Leaders worry that closing schools again will exacerbate inequality and will inevitably damage children’s academic and emotional development.
However, with the surge in coronavirus cases, Germany and the Netherlands have resumed suspension of classes, and many British teachers have called for this.
The government had promised to return it to schools in January, and said it would rely on large-scale tests to stop the virus from spreading in schools and use the military to help.
The British Education Minister Gavin Williamson said that although about 1,500 soldiers have been on standby to provide the school with “the guidance, materials and funds needed to conduct rapid tests on its staff and students from the beginning of the semester” , Will be provided via online conversation and remotely via telephone.
Under the supervision of school employees or volunteers, most school children will be asked to wipe themselves.
“The 1,500 soldiers participating in the webinar may not be the government response we want,” Geoff Barton, secretary general of the Association of School and University Leaders of the Federation of Trade Unions, told the BBC.
The country’s two largest teaching alliances-the National Education Alliance and NASUWT-also criticized the final moments of the large-scale testing program and wrote to Johnson on Monday requesting additional safety measures and spending more time putting them in place .
British news reports stated that the country’s scientific advisory organization SAGE advised against allowing classrooms to reopen.
Scientists say that unless schools close in the new year, the number of coronavirus cases in the UK will be out of control. The scientific advisory panel believes that closing schools in January will reduce the number of infections.
Even if the country’s health workers find themselves under increasing pressure to treat large numbers of patients, they have been asked to speed up the most ambitious mass vaccination program in the country’s history.
Approximately 200,000 people receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine every week. It is expected that in the next few days, AstraZeneca and Oxford University will approve a vaccine, and the number of available doses may increase dramatically.
There is no evidence that vaccines have no effect on the virus variants circulating in the UK, and they are still the country’s best chance to escape the current wave of infections.
But to fulfill the government’s commitment to vaccinate all people over the age of 50 by the spring, the delivery speed must be 10 times faster.
Nick Davies, assistant professor of mathematical modeling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that rapid vaccination should make the new vaccine less effective.
He wrote on Twitter: “Completing 2 million vaccinations per week can greatly reduce the burden.” The current level of 200,000 per week “has little effect.”
This requires not only supply, but also labor to provide vaccines. This means more pressure on health workers.
Rebecca Lewis, a surgeon working in a London hospital and secretary of the Physicians Association, described the exhaustion of medical staff and lack of time to recover. She said that the employee’s illness has reached a serious level. She said that in light of this new strain, the requirements for the use of protective equipment have not yet been reviewed, which may have played a role in front-line workers infected with the virus.
Dr. Lewis said on Tuesday that the country’s vaccination efforts need to be strengthened, adding that in addition to the elderly and vulnerable groups, doctors must be vaccinated.
Dr. Lewis said that she hopes the future will be worse.
She said: “We knew it would be bad in mid-January.”
Marc Santora is from London and reports from Brighton, England.