Professor Gabriel Scally, president of epidemiology and public health at the Royal Society of Medicine and a member of the Independent Sage, said the government was failing to suppress the virus by its own standards.
“Something has to change, otherwise we are really going through an extremely difficult time,” he said.
“This is bad, and behind it all is that the government has no strategy. The last time they released a strategy for Covid-19 was on March 3. What they have published is a strategy to remove social restrictions, but it is not about fighting the virus. They have no strategy to fight the virus that they have never made public. ”
In a May 20 document on the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) website, the Joint Center for Biosafety set targets it deemed necessary to prevent “outbreaks” of Covid-19.
At the top of the list, the number of cases was kept below 1,000 confirmed infections per day. “Decreasing the daily incidence of symptomatic cases in all parts of the UK until the target acceptable incidence is reached, then the incidence is kept below this target. This objective has not yet been specified and needs to be clarified. We suggest 1000 new symptomatic swabs + ve [positive] cases a day in the UK, ”he says.
The official government scorecard says there were 1,062 cases tested and confirmed as of 9 a.m. on Sunday August 9. The new cases fell to 816 Monday morning, the government said; infections counted on Sunday tend to be lower than on other days.
Other sources, including the Bureau of National Statistics, suggest that many more infections go undetected by testing, many of which are asymptomatic. Last week, they estimated there were 3,700 new cases per day. The NHS test and trace program has called for more people to show up for testing.
Independent Sage, the group of scientists who gathered amid concerns about government policy and lack of transparency, said the current system of community testing and traceability was not working. The centralized and privatized call center system is expected to be scrapped when it is renewed on August 23, they said in a report released on Monday.
Contracts with private suppliers Serco and Sitel should be canceled, he added. Their contact tracers reached just 56% of the 91,785 contacts of newly infected people transferred from the testing system in nine weeks, according to the report.
The group called for help and support, including financial assistance, for those asked to self-isolate, and warned that many would live in overcrowded conditions or in multigenerational families and those on zero hour contracts would feel compelled to continue working. .
“If we don’t take isolation seriously, our economy will go downhill. We should have had an effective isolation policy in February, with better pandemic planning. Not having one six months later is nothing less than public health malpractice, ”the report said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Affairs said of the increase in the number of cases to more than 1,000 per day: “The UK continues to have low levels of disease compared to the beginning pandemic and, thanks to our strong screening capacity, we are able to detect more cases than ever before. We will not hesitate to take the necessary steps to stop the spread of the virus and will continue to urge the public to play their role by following the government’s directives.
Another 21 deaths were added to official government statistics on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths with Covid-19 to 46,526. More than 1,000 people are hospitalized, including 67 on ventilators.