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Saturday, August 13, 2022

In variant fears, the UK discovers the limits of its virus strategy

UK discovers the limits of its virus strategy

Key Takeaways:

  • All visitors will be needed to take a COVID-19 test by the end of their second day in the country and will be quarantined until they receive a negative result.
  • Britain has been a coronavirus outlier at almost every stage of the pandemic.

It lockdown later than its European neighbors in March 2020, rolled out vaccines faster than nearly any other major country earlier this year, and lifted almost all restrictions this summer in an audacious bid to return to normalcy.

But, as fears about a new variant, omicron, spread worldwide, Britain has joined its neighbors in rushing to protect itself.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson quickly banned travel from ten African countries, made face masks mandatory in stores and public transportation, and accelerated the deployment of vaccine booster shots on Tuesday, hoping to vaccinate all adults by the end of January.

Also Read: Canada bans African travel due to an ‘Omicron’ variant scare

Britain’s approach remains significantly more permissive than that of Austria, which has reverted to national lockdowns. For example, people can gather in pubs without masks, and officials keep promising a typical Christmas to weary Britons.

However, Johnson stated that the government was willing to tighten its laissez-faire policy, at least for the time being, to prevent another wave of infection.

Public health experts praised the moves to recognize that Britain’s unique strategy, which has combined a robust vaccination program with an almost total lack of restrictions since July, has limits. It demonstrated they claimed, that going it alone with a fast-moving variant does not make sense.

“The United Kingdom has reacted fairly quickly and essentially initiated their Plan B, which many people, including myself, believe they should have initiated a couple of months ago, to defer the threat of the new variant,” said Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London. “They’re bringing the booster forward and making it available to anyone, which I believe sends the correct message.”

“No country has found a good way to live with this virus,” said Devi Sridhar, director of the University of Edinburgh’s global public health program. “Going it alone with a mix of strategies and constraints hasn’t worked out.”

Source: Indian Express News

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