United Kingdom Set For Long Lockdown As The Death Toll Hits 4313

United Kingdom Set For Long Lockdown As The Death Toll Hits 4313

By Editor Staff.

It is doubtful that Britain will lift its strict lockdown rules before the end of May, once coronavirus spread has begun to slow, a leading government advisor says as the death toll rose to 4313. The government has forced Britain into a widespread shutdown, closing down pubs, restaurants, and virtually all stores, while telling people to stay home unless a venture is absolutely required. 

The order is intended to curb the country's spread of COVID-19 which has nearly 42,000 confirmed cases.

Yet some analysts have begun to doubt whether the economy's shuttering would long-term cost more lives. 

Britain's coronavirus death toll rose by 20 per cent to 4313 on Friday afternoon (local time) with 708 new deaths reported, the health ministry said. That compared to Thursday's 23 per cent increase.

Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, told BBC Radio that, "We want to move to a situation where at least by the end of May we're able to substitute some less intensive measures, more based on technology and testing, for the complete lockdown we have now."

he said, "It is quite finely balanced at the current time," adding that Britain could have "weeks and weeks" of very high rates of infection if people start socializing. Britain initially adopted a cautious approach to the outbreak, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson changed strategy and introduced stringent social-distancing steps after Mr Ferguson's projections revealed that a quarter of a million people might die in the country.

How the response suffered complications Since then, the response has been hindered by a lack of ventilators and an inability to carry out mass tests to determine whether the public, and in particular health workers, have built up immunity. 

He said that, "As party leaders we have a duty to work together at this moment of national emergency."

Mr Johnson, who was in self-isolation after a positive coronavirus test, invited opposition party leaders to a briefing next week with medical advisers, including the new Labor Party leader, Keir Starmer.

Some challenge the approach in the long term. 

The second senior government adviser, Chief Pandemic Modelerator Graham Medley, said he feared Britain would be in a corner, with no clear exit from a strategy that would harm many people's economic and mental well-being. 

Over just two weeks over Britain, almost one million people have applied for welfare aid, according to official statistics suggesting the economy is heading for a crisis that may be worse than the recession in the 1930s.

Mr Medley told the Times newspaper, "If we carry on with lockdown it buys us more time, we can get more thought put into it, but it doesn't resolve anything – it's a placeholder."

On Saturday, the government announced it would free inmates who were found to be at low risk and were released within weeks.

Image: © AP Photo / Matt Dunham