Coronavirus UK: Chris Whitty admits mass testing came too late

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Britain should have acted more quickly and followed the lead of Germany to introduce mass screening for coronaviruses, the chief medical officer of England admitted today.

Professor Chris Whitty spoke as figures released today show that Berlin has managed to keep the death toll below that of the United Kingdom despite double the number of confirmed cases.

Today was Britain’s darkest day in its coronavirus crisis with 786 additional deaths confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 6,159 victims out of a total of 55,242 positive tests.

In contrast, Germany has reported more than 100,000 cases of coronavirus, but only 1,600 deaths, and the government is already privately discussing the lifting of its movement restrictions.

It has tested more than 50,000 people a day, while the UK has just over 10,000, and plans to reach 100,000 by the end of April.

At tonight’s televised press conference, Professor Whitty added: “We all know that Germany is ahead in terms of its ability to test for the virus and there is much to learn from that and we tried to learn from it. ”

Professor Chris Whitty spoke as figures released today show that Berlin has managed to keep its death toll below that of the UK despite double the number of confirmed cases

Professor Chris Whitty spoke as figures released today show that Berlin has managed to keep its death toll below that of the UK despite double the number of confirmed cases

Table of international leagues of coronavirus deaths

Table of international leagues of coronavirus deaths

A document leaked by the German interior ministry has already outlined plans to lift the lock, although Angela Merkel says it is too early to set a date.

The country added less than 4,000 cases to its coronavirus count for the second day in a row, in the latest promising sign that the peak may have passed.

The increase of 3,834 cases follows a similar jump from 3,677 yesterday, bringing the total number of infections from 95,391 to 99,225.

The 4.0% increase is almost identical to yesterday’s increase, which was the smallest since the start of the crisis.

However, the jump in 173 deaths is higher than yesterday’s 92, bringing the total from 1,434 to 1,607.

The document said restrictions could be relaxed if the contagion rate is less than 1.0, which means that each patient infects less than one other person on average.

If this is done, the children could return to school on a regional basis and the restaurants could reopen with a limited number of customers.

Merkel said the restrictions would be lifted step by step, warning that public health would always be the first consideration.

Germany is apparently able to acquire tests from domestic manufacturers while Britain has to import them.

Germany is home to a strong network of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, including Landt, which has produced and helped distribute four million COVID-19 tests.

Asked about the lessons from Germany, where the growth rate in the number of deaths has been much slower, Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Sir Patrick Vallance said: “You are right, the German curve seems to be weaker right now, and this is important, and I don’t have a clear answer for you exactly what it is, the reason for it, and there are obviously two things that we will look at in terms of response to any epidemic.

“One is the virus itself and the other is the society that the virus enters, and there are things to do with demographics, there are things to do with the way systems are organized and of course there may be differences in the way certain responses were taken. ‘

At the press conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab, who replaces Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he is still in intensive care in the hospital, stressed the government’s commitment to carry out 100,000 tests of coronavirus daily by the end of the month “is still relevant”.

Concerned that the antibody tests are not ready, which means that the antigen tests should be speeded up considerably, he said, “Many of these things are in high demand, but we are doing everything we can on all fronts to get all the tests. capabilities we need.

At the press conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab, who replaces Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he is still in intensive care in the hospital, stressed the government's commitment to carry out 100,000 tests of coronavirus daily by the end of the month.

At the press conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab, who replaces Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he is still in intensive care in the hospital, stressed the government’s commitment to carry out 100,000 tests of coronavirus daily by the end of the month.

“But yes, the health secretary’s goal of 100,000 a day is still valid. “

Sir Patrick said that following the trajectory of the death rate in Italy did not mean that the United Kingdom would end up with the same end result.

He made the comments in response to a question about whether there were lessons to be learned since the UK was three to four weeks behind the Italian Covid-19 model.

“It is a pandemic, which means it is everywhere,” he said at the press conference.

“This is why we see it in many countries and in all populations.

“And we’re probably three or four weeks behind Italy in terms of the epidemic. This does not mean that we end up with the same numbers.

“And of course it is important, since the capacity of intensive care has been strengthened, the idea of ​​keeping the numbers below the capacity of intensive care is absolutely essential.”

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