At present, the number of new confirmed cases in a single day worldwide is on a downward trend. According to the weekly epidemic report released by the World Health Organization, as of February 17 local time, the number of new cases in a single day worldwide has dropped by 16% compared with the previous week.
Of the six regions of the world divided by WHO, the number of new confirmed cases has declined by double digits in five regions. In addition, among the top five countries in the world with cumulative confirmed cases, the number of new cases in the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia has shown a downward trend, 27%, 23% and 11%, respectively.
The British government, which is in the middle of the lockdown, has begun to take measures. According to the BBC, on February 22, local time, British Prime Minister Johnson officially announced the “road map” for lifting the coronavirus lockdown. It is tentatively planned to relax epidemic prevention measures on March 8 and gradually restore normal life in the UK within the next four months.
In the face of strict blockade measures, some British media are looking forward to “unblocking”, and also call this day an “exciting” day. However, as the mutant novel coronavirus found in the UK continues to spread, public health experts still oppose the premature lifting of the government.
What plans has the British government formulated?
Unblocking is divided into “four steps”
According to The Guardian, British Prime Minister Johnson said in a televised speech on February 22 local time, “Life in spring and summer will be much better than now, because we have formulated a four-phase unblocking plan that can reopen bars, people return to gyms and resume home. Tourism paves the way.
The main plan of the first step includes the lifting of schools and allowing people to engage in limited outdoor social activities. According to the original plan, from March 8, all schools will be reopened in England, and students can participate in outdoor sports. At the same time, middle school students can take exams, but they need to wear masks in closed spaces such as classrooms and corridors. In addition, restrictions on gathering with friends will be relaxed, and two people from different families can eat outdoors.
As another part of the first step to lift the blockade, from March 29, the outdoor gathering restrictions will be relaxed again, allowing six people or two families to meet, and outdoor sports facilities will be reopened.
The second step of the lifting of the blockade will not be implemented earlier than April 12. At that time, public facilities such as non-essential retail stores, barbershops, libraries, zoos and theme parks can be reopened. But at this stage, people from different families are still unable to party indoors.
In the third step of the unblocking plan, the “six-person limit” on people gathering outdoors will be lifted and the number ceiling will be revised to 30; up to 10,000 spectators can watch outdoor football games live. This initiative will not be implemented earlier than May 17.
According to the last step of the lifting plan, the government is very likely to lift all epidemic prevention measures related to social contact and cancel the epidemic prevention guidelines for working from home, which will be implemented as early as June 21.
According to the British government website, British parliamentarians plan to vote on the “road map” to unblock in late March. In addition to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will gradually relax epidemic prevention measures in accordance with their respective plans.
Has the epidemic in the UK been effectively contained?
The number of confirmed cases is gradually decreasing.
At present, the UK is still one of the countries most affected by the coronavirus epidemic in the world. According to the epidemic data released by the British Department of Public Health on February 22, in the past 24 hours, there have been 10,641 new confirmed cases in the country, with a total of 41,6,150 confirmed cases; 178 new deaths, with a total of 120,757 deaths.
However, since the UK began to impose a strict lockdown in January 2021, the number of new confirmed cases and deaths in the country has declined in a single day, and the number of new infections in the last seven days has dropped by nearly 10% compared with the previous one.
As of February 21 local time, more than 17.72 million people in the UK had received the first dose of vaccine, accounting for more than a quarter of the total population of the United Kingdom, of which 620,000 people had received the second dose.
Analysts believe that the British government has carried out a large-scale vaccination project in parallel with strict lockdown measures, which may have had a positive impact on curbing the epidemic.
According to Reuters, on February 22, local time, British health officials said that as the number of medical staff vaccinated increased, the proportion of front-line epidemic prevention workers infected with the novel coronavirus has dropped by about 70%.
Mary Ramsey, head of the immunization section of the British Public Health Department, regarded the data as “strong evidence” and said that vaccination against the novel coronavirus is preventing people from contracting the virus, thus reducing the number of hospitalizations and deaths. “The preliminary figures are encouraging.”
However, the risk of mutant COVID-19 continuing to spread remains. According to the British government website, as of February 17, local time, 76,203 patients in the UK have been infected with the mutant novel coronavirus strain “B.1.1.7” found in the UK.
In order to promote the implementation of the “road map” for unblocking, Johnson also said in his speech on the same day that the government needs to evaluate the effectiveness of the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus epidemic before each stage of the measures are implemented. The next step can only be carried out if the “four major conditions” are met, namely, the progress of the vaccination program according to government expectations, the vaccine can effectively reduce the number of severe and dead patients, whether the current infection rate will not lead to the collapse of the medical system, and whether the new mutation of COVID-19 will not make the epidemic drastic. Chemical.
What is the dispute over the lifting plan?
It may have a certain impact on students.
In March 2020, the country announced a blockade after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the United Kingdom, but the state lasted only two months and quickly lifted the blockade. Since then, the novel coronavirus has “recomeed” in the UK. In December of the same year, the United Kingdom reported for the first time that a mutant novel coronavirus was discovered, which led to the further spread of the epidemic. The UK government has announced plans to unpack the lockdown again before the pandemic is over, raising concerns among public health experts.
According to the British Medical Association, the government should gradually relax the epidemic prevention restrictions when the number of new confirmed cases in a single day drops below 1,000. Although the number of new cases per day in the UK is currently reduced compared with before, the number of new confirmed cases reported daily in the past seven days has exceeded 10,000.
Meanwhile, in Johnson’s latest release plan, schools have been put on the “front line”, which has caused some educators to panic.
According to The Guardian, the plan to unblock the NEU secretary-general Mary Busted said that the plan to unblock it was crazy.” While both the number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations are currently falling, unfortunately, the number of new cases in a single day is still three times higher than when schools reopened in September 2020, which alone deserves our attention.”
More worryingly, teachers are more likely to contract COVID-19 than most professions. According to the data released by the Office for National Statistics on February 22, local time, among 25 occupations, the probability of teachers testing positive for the virus is 4.39%, ranking fourth.
Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, once strongly supported the government’s blockade measures. Ferguson said that the current “road map” for unblocking has reached some “balance”, but if schools are reopened too quickly, it may lead to another increase in the number of confirmed cases.