Macdonald for N1: Hope and concern

NEWS 20.07.202111:33 0 komentara

Tuning in from London to N1’s Novi Dan (New Day) morning programme on Tuesday, Times Radio presenter Calum Macdonald commented on the situation in Great Britain one day after England had decided to lift all Covid restrictions and begin the return to normal life.

So far, it is only England that decided to remove nearly all measures imposed with the aim of stemming the spread of the pandemic, while some restrictions still remain in place in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

As of Monday, masks are no longer mandatory in England, and there are no more limitations on the numbers of people who can come together either indoor or outdoor. Nightclubs and sports stadiums may reopen to full capacity.

“I think, first of all, the return to the office for workers in London, who have been working from home for more than a year now during this pandemic, will be interesting to see. It will be interesting to see how companies implement the ability, the option for workers to return to their office buildings,” Macdonald said, adding those decisions will have a knock-on effect on the public transportation system in the city.

“In terms of how this Freedom Day is being viewed across England, it’s interesting because Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a press conference with his advisers last from isolation. He is currently self- isolating after coming into contact with the country’s Health Secretary, who’s tested positive for Covid-19,” Macdonald said.

Because of that, he added, the tone of Johnson’s message was very cautious.

“This is not quite the Freedom Day that Boris Johnson had envisaged. Indeed, a lot of the reporting around how Boris Johnson is now feeling is that he is perhaps worried, a little bit more anxious than he was a few weeks ago about the direction the case numbers and infection rate in the UK as a whole is taking,” he said.

The Delta variant became dominant in the United Kingdom in May, with average daily deaths three times what they were before the variant accounted for the majority of new cases. The case numbers, however, are 12 times what they were in May.

Track-and-trace system

Half a million people in the UK have been contacted by the track-and-trace system in the last week, Macdonald said, a record number.

“The way it works is you install an app on your phone, the app uses Bluetooth to connect to the phones of other people you were near. If some of them, at a later date, goes on their phone and logs that they have tested positive for Covid-19, then any phone that was within contact of their phone receives a notification advising you that you should self-isolate,” he explained.

You may also be contacted by the team of the test-and-trace system and if they phone you to tell you to self-isolate, that is a legal requirement, he added.

The app, Macdonald said, has been criticised over the last weeks because of the high number of people it has contacted, asking they self-isolate. “This includes workers in the National Health Service, workers in factories, there are concerns that some workplaces may have to close because the numbers of people being pinged by the app are so high.”

However, he added, people who defend the app say it is doing exactly what it is designed to do.

“The real issue here is that the Delta variant is far more transmissible, spreading through communities much faster, and so case numbers are going up. Therefore, the number of people who need to self-isolate to avoid jeopardising the wider public is going up too,” he said.

A feeling of concern

People want freedom, they want life to go back to how they knew it, Macdonald said, adding however that there are questions around the timing.

“At this point, 68.5 percent of the UK population have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. The argument among scientists and scientific advisers here is that that percentage should be higher before restrictions are eased,” he stressed. “As we know, being vaccinated is the way out of this.”

One concern, he continued, of the so-called English experiment, is the possibility that new variants may emerge from the rapid community transmission.

“There is concern we may accidentally mutate the virus into some unmanageable form of Covid-19 that then sends us all into lockdown again in the next few weeks,” Macdonald said. “So there is excitement, definitely, there is enthusiasm for the lifting of measures, but there is also this sense of whether this is the right time and what the next few weeks will look like.”

Kakvo je tvoje mišljenje o ovome?

Budi prvi koji će ostaviti komentar!