This weekend, central Government is creating a three-tier lockdown plan to simplify the Covid-19 endemic management across the country. This follows spiralling cases in Northern England and advice from the UK’s medical doctors union, the British Medical Association for clearer guidelines with consistent trigger points.
As the UK Government creates its three-tier lockdown approach, the BMA has put forward a series of recommendations which, it says, if implemented without delay could reduce the level of infection as well as supporting businesses and those who are in vulnerable groups.
Chair of the BMA Council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, says:
Simple effective rules and tighter restrictions are urgently needed to avoid communities suffering the paralysing impact of full local lockdowns and the impact that uncontrolled infections will have on our NHS. With admissions to hospitals for Covid climbing rapidly in parts of England, there is an opportunity for the Westminster Government to bring in simple, stronger restrictions alongside the introduction of its much trailed three-tiered approach.BMA Chair of Council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul in BMA press release of 10 October 2020
The BMA’s recommendations are:
• Modify the current ‘Rule of 6’ with the rule that only two (exclusive) households can meet (and those should not exceed 6 people) – ideally outdoors, rather than indoors.
• Making the wearing of face masks mandatory in all offices and working environments, unless you are working alone.
• Wear masks in all outdoor settings where two metre distancing isn’t possible
• Provide financial support to businesses, retail and hospitality settings to enable them to make premises Covid secure and provide clear rules on what ‘Covid secure’ means.
Provide medical grade masks, free of charge, to those who are over 60 or in a vulnerable group, as recommended by the WHO
• Provide masks free of charge to those who are exempt from prescription charges and also at the entrance of all public settings if a person has not brought one (nominal charge)
• Add more functionality to the NHS Test and Trace app to give people more detailed information on infection rates in their area including actual figures of rates of infection and trends
The BMA believes these additional measures pose a very low risk to the economy in the immediate term and could be crucial to providing people with the confidence they need to go out safely and boost the economy.
The BMA is also hugely concerned that, without new stringent measures, rapidly introduced, the NHS and its workforce, will very quickly be overwhelmed and the consequences for staff and patients alike will be disastrous.
Putting the right safeguards in place now will minimise the risk of further lockdowns and significant disruption to business and economic activity down the line.
These measures are all the more important given that the Test and Trace programme is still not yet fully functional and is not able to identify all those with the infection and their contacts.
At the same time, regional leaders such as Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham are agitating the public with their politicking: