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Boris Johnson Steps Up Plans To Tackle Coronavirus As Criticism Mounts
Monday, 16 March 2020 18:12 WIB | GLOBAL |Global

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will step up government action this week in a bid to slow the spread across Britain of the potentially deadly coronavirus by accelerating plans to make the elderly stay at home ” possibly for months ” and for whole families to self-quarantine when any family member displays COVID-19 symptoms.

The acceleration of planned new social-distancing rules marks the third policy reversal by Johnson in the past four days. The move comes after hundreds of scientists accused the government in an open letter of œrisking many more lives than necessary by delaying the introduction of more restrictive social-distancing measures.

They are urging the government to start locking-down virus hotspots, close schools and order the cessation of flights from other countries affected by the outbreak, as other European countries and the U.S. have done.

Johnson is basing Britain's COVID strategy partly on the theory of œherd immunity, his critics say. His science advisers last week said there's little the government can do to prevent the virus spreading and that the best way to protect the public from the virus in the long term is for most of the population to contract it, while shielding the old and vulnerable from catching the coronavirus.

Once about 60% of the population has had the disease, thereby becoming immune in theory from further reinfection, it will provide some protection to those who are not immune because the virus will spread much more slowly or may just die out.

The government's priority, instead, is to try to slow the rate of the spread of COVID-19 to avoid the public health system from becoming overwhelmed. The ˜herd immunity™ strategy is being championed by Johnson's chief science adviser, Patrick Vallance, and has become the focus of an increasingly charged debate, with its critics saying it is out of step with the lockdown strategies being adopted by Britain's European neighbors.

Source : VOA

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