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24 Jun, 2020 08:02

Medical experts call on UK govt to prepare for second wave as debate rages about efficacy of Covid-19 measures

Medical experts call on UK govt to prepare for second wave as debate rages about efficacy of Covid-19 measures

A group of medical professionals has urged political leaders to review the UK’s readiness for a potential second wave of coronavirus. The call comes amid growing scrutiny over how the country has dealt with the health crisis.

In an open letter addressed to the “leaders of all UK political parties,” the group of doctors, from among of the country’s leading medical institutions, requested the creation of a “forward-looking review” to determine how best to cope with the possibility of an uptick in Covid-19 cases.

“While the future shape of the pandemic in the UK is hard to predict, the available evidence indicates that local flare-ups are increasingly likely and a second wave a real risk,” the letter, published in the British Medical Journal, cautions.

The medics noted that there was strong public support for an inquiry into how the health crisis has been managed and what recommendations can be made going forward. The letter argues that there is a “strong case for an immediate assessment of national preparedness.” Preliminary results of the review should be made ready by August, with a complete report available by the end of October, the medical professionals suggest.

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The letter was signed by a number of leaders in the medical field, including Derek Alderson, president of the Royal College of Surgeons and Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians.

Their joint call for a nonpartisan assessment of how to combat coronavirus comes as the UK continues to ease lockdown measures. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that the two-meter social-distancing rule will be relaxed starting next month, and that pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen beginning on July 4.

However, face masks are still required on public transport, and the government continues to issue draconian rules, purportedly designed to stop the spread of the virus – including guidelines on whom you are allowed to hug.

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Some in the medical field have cautioned that the danger posed by coronavirus is far less devastating that the policies put in place to contain the illness. Professor Karol Sikora, a former WHO official, has argued that the actual death toll from Covid-19 in the UK could be less than half of what has been recorded, primarily due to broad guidelines used to determine what constitutes a coronavirus-related death. He warned that the country was now facing a major health crisis as a result of a massive amount of undiagnosed cancer cases going untreated.

While countries such as Germany and South Korea have re-imposed measures to contain flare-ups of the virus, other nations have already signaled that they will take a different approach if a second wave occurs. Health officials in Norway have acknowledged that the country’s lockdown was likely unnecessary, and a government report commissioned to assess the policy suggested a “lighter approach” if a new surge in coronavirus cases is detected.

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