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  • Feb 16, 2019

UK backs away from “herd immunity” coronavirus proposal amid ...
UK backs away from “herd immunity” coronavirus proposal amid …

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England Drops Its Approaches Go-It-Alone for Coronavirus

England Drops Its Approaches Go-It-Alone for …

LONDON-For a few days, Britain stood alone.

While continental Europe closed schools and put troops on the streets to enforce a strict quarantine, the official advice the British government to its citizens that, in effect, simply to remain calm and continue. Schools, restaurants, theaters, clubs, and sports venues remain open; only the over-70s and people with flu-like symptoms are advised to stay at home. British low response boosted by a controversial theory adopted by the British government’s top scientists: that the best way to alleviate the long-term consequences of the pandemic coronavirus is to allow the virus to spread naturally in order to build this population herd immunity.

on Monday night, that theory collides with the facts. A new analysis by immunologists at Imperial College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine of the impact of the coronavirus in Italy suggest that up to 30 percent of patients hospitalized with the virus will require intensive care treatment. figures, if repeated in the UK, will quickly overwhelm the state-run National Health Service of England.

Within hours of the report, Prime Minister U.K. Boris Johnson appeared at the daily briefing at No 10 Downing St to reverse the policy of herd immunity. Acknowledging that “drastic action” is needed, Johnson announced that from now Britons should try to work from home and voluntarily refrain from unnecessary travel and social contacts.

But the tone Johnson, British policy, and indeed the reaction of many Britons remain a strong contrast to the rest of Europe-a striking echo of the approach of go-it-alone prime minister to Brexit beginning of the year. Johnson now take a closer approach with US President Donald Trump-appealing to the public for voluntary cooperation rather than ordering it-rather than that of the EU.

Instead, the President of France Emmanuel Macron, warning that the country was “at war” with the coronavirus was announced that residents must register their intention to leave their homes on a national website or face a 38 euro ($ 42) Good -good course, enforced by 100,000 police officers. England has not imposed any mandatory ban on the movement or the opening bars and entertainment venues.

Instead, Johnson that the government provides “a very strong advice that the public places such as theaters should no longer be visited” but added, “I do not believe it will be necessary to use” the power of law enforcement. And on the eve of the announcement of Johnson, Twitter is filled with images of many Britons against government advice merry with drink in pubs and clubs. The next morning, the prime minister’s own father, 79-year Stanley Johnson, challenged that “of course I’ll go to the pub if I have to go to the pub.”

go-it-alone strategy Johnson has been under fire for several days of the second leader of the opposition at home and abroad officials. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn government to be “satisfied” and “far behind the curve” in handling an outbreak of coronavirus. Singapore’s National Development Minister Lawrence Wong told reporters Sunday that “U.K. and Switzerland … has left every action to contain or hold the virus. ” Several top British doctors questioned the scientific rationale behind the policy herd immunity Johnson, to publish the evidence for its refusal to follow the rest of Europe into lockdown immediately. “We have a small window of opportunity to protect our nation, to learn about new and emerging virus to deal with this threat unprecedented for global health,”Arne Akbar, president of the British Society for Immunology. In less rational level, #ToryGenocide hashtag trended on Twitter, with users accusing Johnson and the Conservatives deliberately let the sick and elderly people to die.

people in the government insists that the criticism was unfair and that the Johnson administration had stuck strictly to the advice of the best doctors in the country.

“Of course at a time like this people will blame the government for everything,” said one of the senior civil servants who saw Johnson every day but was not authorized to speak to the media. “The truth is, what you [people] hear is what we hear. … Boris is already very straight. He told the British people that there will be death. He said that this is a very serious crisis and that our priority is to save lives, assuming that it was too late to try to contain the outbreak. ”

He added that the notion that the government has been playing down the crisis is “nonsense … we have been working on the best science we have.” U-turn Monday night is “an excellent example of how we respond, based on science … when the facts change, change our policy.” So the team worked from Imperial College and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine presented new conclusion that the old go-slow approach will not work, “there is no doubt: we change official advice within three hours,” the source said. In a press conference Monday evening are coordinated by the Johnson administration, Imperial College epidemiology Azra Ghani explained that his team had “herd immunity expect to build [but] we now realize it is not possible to cope with it.” posture U.K. has, accordingly, the official shifted from containment to “suppression of epidemics … [as] a strategy is only feasible at the current time,” Ghani told reporters.

However, the UK continues to very different response from the rest of the continent’s-as well as from many US states and cities that have mandated full lockdowns. On Tuesday, Britain and Belarus remain second last country in Europe where schools have not been closed. And Britain has refused to follow the lead of the EU and travel bans from outside the UK. Although many British airlines have announced that they will cut capacity by 80 percent, airports, cross-channel ferries and the Channel Tunnel remains open.

The key reason U.K. government for not piling on mandatory restrictions on movement and social interaction has been the fear that the UK will develop a “fatigue behavior” and resume a normal life before the outbreak contained. The logic is that the strict social quarantine unsustainable for more than a short time and will lead to new outbreaks of the virus as people oppose restrictions. Last week more than 200 British scientist who challenged the government’s approach to the question whether “enough is known about ‘fatigue behavior’ ‘- and said,”‘ Bring as usual ‘for as long as possible undercut [the] urgent “message of anti-coronavirus.

The reliance on theories of behavior sometimes-controversial science has long been a hallmark of the key groups-many government advisory U.K. of whom previously worked on the successful Brexit campaign. Dominic Cummings, chief adviser to Johnson and one of the most powerful figures in the government, has often how science data and behavior modeling is the key to a successful campaign and administration. British government’s approach to faith Cummings coronavirus has reflected this. Last week, Susan Michie, director of the Center for Behavior Change at University College London and a member of the advisory group of government on COVID-19 confirms that a significant part of the government’s approach is modeled on so-called “COM-B” model. This theory states that the change behavior can only be achieved if the population has enough “ability, opportunity, and motivation.”

“Unless you can tick all three of them, such behavior will not happen,” Michie. “If a large group of people is not in question and you ask people to sacrifice quite a lot, would not be effective if the two things fit . ” In other words, according to a source who worked with Cummings who requested anonymity, “just tell people to obey will not work.”

Insiders believe that Johnson-Cummings approach of nudging and persuading people to the coronavirus-limiting behavior will ultimately be more effective than the European attitude prohibits social interaction and punish offenders.

“It was sort of bossiness government will not work with the British people,” says co-Cummings this. “The end result is the same, but it works much better when people choose to do so.” If the Johnson family’s own behavior is anything to go by, there may be some truth to that logic. If the new British prime minister finally managed to persuade his father to respect the national quarantine, he may succeed with the rest of the country, too.

Owen Matthews, author of Stalin’s Children, based in the UK. He’s Moscow bureau chief of Newsweek from 2006 to 2016. Twitter:

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