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Johnson is under fire, while Britain is again facing an attack on COVID-19

LONDON (AP) – The crisis facing Britain this winter is depressingly familiar: orders to stay at home and empty streets. Hospitals crowded. Daily result of many hundreds of coronavirus deaths.

The United Kingdom is once again the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government is facing questions and anger as people want to know how the country got here – again.

Many countries are withstanding new waves of the virus, but Britain is among the worst and comes after the horrific 2020. More than 3 million people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus and 81

,000 have died – 30,000 in the last 30 days alone. The economy has shrunk by 8%, more than 800,000 jobs have been lost and hundreds of thousands of laid-off workers are unaccounted for.

Even with the new lock, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Friday that the situation in the capital was “critical”, with one in 30 people infected. “The obvious reality is that we will be without beds for patients in the next few weeks, unless the spread of the virus slows down drastically,” he said.

The medical staff is also at a critical point.

“Before everyone went into” We just have to go through this “mode (now) everyone is like,” Here we go again – can I go through this? Said Lindsay Izard, a senior intensive care nurse at St George’s Hospital in London. “It’s really, very difficult for our staff.”

Much of the blame for Britain’s poor performance lies with Johnson, who flew the virus in the spring and ended up in intensive care. Critics say his government’s slow response since the new respiratory virus emerged from China is the first in a series of deadly mistakes.

Anthony Costello, a professor of global health at University College London, said in March “indiscriminately” whether the closure of Britain cost thousands of lives.

Britain was blocked on March 23, and Costello said that if the decision was made a week or two earlier, “we will return to 30,000-40,000 deaths.” … More like Germany. ”

“And the problem is that they repeated these delays,” said Costello, a member of the Independent SAGE, a group of scientists set up as an alternative to the official scientific advisory group on emergencies.

Most countries fought during the pandemic, but Britain had some shortcomings from the start. His public health system was destroyed after years of spending cuts by conservative conservative governments. He had only a small capacity to test the new virus. And while authorities had planned a hypothetical pandemic, they speculated that it would be a less deadly and less contagious flu-like illness.

The government has sought advice from scientists, but critics say the set of advisers is too narrow. And their recommendations did not always obey a prime minister whose instinct for ease made him unwilling to restrict the economy and everyday life.

Johnson defended his record, saying it was easy to find fault when looking back.

“The retrospectroscope is a great tool,” Johnson said in an interview with the BBC last week.

“Scientific advisers have said all sorts of things at different times,” he added. “They are by no means unanimous.”

A future public inquiry is likely to create loopholes in the British response to the coronavirus, but the Inquisition has already begun.

The parliamentary committee on science and technology said in a report published on Friday that the government was not transparent enough about the scientific advice it received, did not learn from other countries and reacted too slowly when “the pandemic requires policy to be made and adapted faster time scale. “

The government rightly points out that there has been great progress since last spring. Early problems with the provision of protective equipment to health workers have largely been resolved. The UK now conducts almost half a million tests for coronavirus a day. A national tracking and tracing system has been set up to find and isolate infected people, although it is struggling to cope with the demand and cannot enforce requests for self-isolation.

Treatments, including the steroid dexamethasone, which were found to be effective in a study in the United Kingdom, have improved survival rates among the most severely ill. And now there are vaccines, three of which are approved for use in the UK. The government has promised to give the first of two photos to nearly 15 million people, including all over 70, by mid-February.

But critics say the government continues to repeat its mistakes, adapting too slowly to the changing situation.

As infection rates fall during the summer, the government encourages people to return to restaurants and workplaces to help revive the economy. When the virus began to rise again in September, Johnson rejected the advice of his scientific advisers to lock up the country before finally announcing a one-month second national blockade on October 31st.

Hopes that this move would be enough to curb the spread of the virus were dashed in December when scientists warned that the new variant was up to 70% more susceptible than the original strain.

Johnson tightened restrictions on London and the southeast, but the government’s scientific advisory committee warned on December 22 that this would not be enough. Johnson announced a third national blockade for England just two weeks later, on January 4.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own public health policies and have similar restrictions.

“Why does this prime minister, with all the scientific expertise at his disposal, have all the power to make a difference, always the last to understand what needs to happen?” Said Jonathan Ashworth, a health spokesman for the opposition Labor Party. “The prime minister had no shortage of data, he had no judgment.”

Costello said Johnson should not be to blame. He said the feeling of “exclusivity” had led many British officials to watch scenes from Wuhan, China, in early 2020 and think that “all this is happening in Asia and will not come here.”

“We found we wanted to,” he said. “And I think that’s a wake-up call.”

John Bell, a professor of medicine at Oxford University in Regius, said people should be more forgiving of official mistakes.

“It’s very easy to be critical of how we’ve done it, but you have to remember that there is no one who has really managed a pandemic like someone who has ever done it before,” he told the BBC. “We are all trying to make decisions on the go, and some of those decisions will inevitably be wrong decisions.”

“Everyone has to do their best, and I think people in general are – including, I must say, politicians. So don’t beat them too badly. ”


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