UK PM Boris Johnson admits that the UK was unprepared for the coronavirus crisis.
“We didn’t learn the lesson on SARS and MERS,” UK prime minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday as he faced questions from the House of Commons Liaison Committee, referencing the government’s pandemic planning and a lack of capacity at Public Health England to detect outbreaks of coronavirus around the country. He also said that there would not be an official inquiry to investigate whether his senior aide Dominic Cummings broke lockdown rules. More than 40 Conservative party MPs have now called for Cummings’ resignation.
During the meeting, Johnson announced that England’s test and trace system will be launched tomorrow. Under the new system, contact tracers will ask people who test positive for coronavirus to self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of symptoms, and to provide details of any recent close contacts. The secretary of state will have the power to “mandate” people to isolate if they do not isolate voluntarily. The government announced earlier today that localized lockdowns, including targeted closures of schools and workplaces, could be used to control outbreaks in areas of England that see increases in confirmed coronavirus cases.
The UK could reduce the number of new coronavirus infections passed on by each person, lessening the spread by 5 to 15 percent, if the country implemented targeted contact tracing.
This is the finding of a report published by Data Evaluation and Learning for Viral Epidemics (DELVE), a data analytics group at the Royal Society in the UK. DELVE modeled the spread of coronavirus in the UK, taking into account how people interact with each other in various settings, including households, workplaces, and schools.