Government plan to exit lockdown is ‘full of risks and threatens to undo progress’, warns BMA

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA. 

Location: England
Published: Monday 23 November 2020
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Responding to the announcement today by Boris Johnson outlining the return to a three-tiered system when England ends lockdown on 2nd December, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:

“The Government has had nearly a month to devise a realistic plan to halt the spread of Covid-19, in order to protect people’s health and prevent the NHS facing collapse. Worryingly, the Prime Minister has revealed a plan that is full of risks and threatens to undo the progress and undermine the difficult sacrifices the public have made in that time.

“The Prime Minister says the new measures are tougher than October when in reality many are far more relaxed, at a time when infection rates and covid-related hospitalisations and deaths remain high. For doctors and NHS staff who are already working under incredible pressure, the potential impact on NHS services is deeply worrying.

“It’s extremely concerning that outdoor events with crowds of up to 4,000 people will be allowed to go ahead and groups of 1,000 will be allowed to congregate indoors as many of the new proposals are more relaxed than previous measures.

“And there’s no change to the illogical Rule of 6 applying indoors– when the government itself has repeatedly said that mixing of different households indoors is the greatest cause of spread of the virus. A ‘rule of 2 households’ as proposed in the BMA’s own exit strategy, would do far more to prevent transmission.

“Now equipped with knowledge of the failings of the first three-tiered system, which led to another national lockdown, the Government must not repeat the same mistakes and risk accelerating the spread of the virus. Short of reconsidering these measures, at the very least the Government must be stringent when allocating Tiers from the offset rather than waiting for the situation to get worse in areas as we have seen before.

“Despite news of a potential vaccine there is no room for complacency. With the virus still very much a threat, hundreds of lives being lost daily and pressures on the NHS escalating, tighter restrictions in the short-term will give us a greater chance of returning to normality in the longer-term – we must not lose sight of the end goal.”

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

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