The British Medical Association (BMA) says current government restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 are not working and that clearer additional measures are needed to avoid communities suffering the paralysing and economic impact of local lockdowns. If the government in Westminster follows the suggestions made by the BMA, mask sales are going to hit the roof and the rule of six could be near to impossible if two exclusive families total more than six people. The Freelance Informer reports.
The Association warns the public is in danger of losing faith in existing measures – demonstrated by infection rates spiralling out of control because at times the messaging has been inconsistent.
In July, new cases of the infection were as low as 500 per day. The BMA believes more robust, decisive and clear to follow rules alongside the introduction of a new three-tiered approach, could boost public confidence and lead to the rates reducing once again.
With the UK government considering a three-tier lockdown approach for England, the BMA has put forward over the weekend a series of recommendations which, if implemented without delay, believe could reduce the level of infection as well as supporting businesses and those who are in vulnerable groups.
The recommendations include:
• Modify the current ‘Rule of 6’ with the rule that only two (exclusive) households can meet (and those should not exceed 6 people) – ideally outdoors, rather than indoors.
• Making the wearing of face masks mandatory in all offices and working environments, unless you are working alone.
• Wear masks in all outdoor settings where two metre distancing isn’t possible.
• Provide financial support to businesses, retail and hospitality settings to enable them to make premises Covid secure and provide clear rules on what ‘Covid secure’ means.
• Provide medical-grade masks, free of charge, to those who are over 60 or in a vulnerable group, as recommended by the WHO.
• Provide masks free of charge to those who are exempt from prescription charges and also at the entrance of all public settings if a person has not brought one (nominal charge).
• Add more functionality to the NHS Test and Trace app to give people more detailed information on infection rates in their area including actual figures of rates of infection and trends
The BMA is also hugely concerned that, without new stringent measures, rapidly introduced, the NHS and its workforce, will very quickly be overwhelmed and the consequences for staff and patients alike will be disastrous.
The BMA Chair of Council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, says: “Simple effective rules and tighter restrictions are urgently needed to avoid communities suffering the paralysing impact of full local lockdowns and the impact that uncontrolled infections will have on our NHS.”
“We know that with the right public behaviour and renewed public confidence, the infection can be brought under control, given that we had less than 500 new cases a day in mid-July,” says Nagpaul.
Nagpaul says there is a correlation in the number of rising cases and the rapid relaxation of measures, suggesting the Westminster Government is “letting down its guard”.
“As recently as August, the Government was encouraging people to travel, go to work and mix in restaurants and pubs. There was inconsistency in where and when to wear a face mask and how and when to mix socially,” he says.
“We are having to swallow a very bitter pill of the infection continuing to spread at a perilous rate. Stronger measures brought in now could be a far sweeter pill in the long run for far more people,” says Nagpaul.