Here’s Why A Coronavirus Circuit Breaker Won’t Work In The UK

Melissa Jacobs
·2-min read

I was in Singapore for its circuit breaker. The island has suffered just 28 fatalities, and on October 23 there were no new cases of locally transmitted Covid-19 infection.

So what can we learn from the Singaporean experience? Put blunty: there is simply no way that a two or three-week lockdown will work in England. Not now, not with the level of infection that we currently have in parts of the country.

Strict restrictions would have to stay in place for far longer here or we could find ourselves in a nightmare cycle of going in and out of lockdown until science swoops in to rescue us with an effective vaccine or therapeutic drug.

Even in Singapore, where the virus had been so successfully contained until the government encouraged Singaporean residents to return home, two weeks was not enough. And that’s despite daily government figures showing they only averaged 80 new cases per day in the week preceding the circuit breaker.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that by comparison, the situation in the UK is dire. On Wednesday, October 21, 7,706 patients with Covid-19 were reported to have been in hospital across the UK. On October 27, that figure was much higher at 10,308.

Twice this week the UK’s Covid-19 death toll topped 300, with 310 deaths recorded on October 28 and 367 recorded on October 27 – the highest figure since May 28.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Head of ONS, said there is “no question we are in a second wave and infections are rising very quickly. Rates of increase may slow slightly but are still at a very high level, which needs to come down.”

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A man walks through a shopping arcade where social distancing measures are in force on October 28, 2020 in Bridgend, Wales. 
A man walks through a shopping arcade where social distancing measures are in force on October 28, 2020 in Bridgend, Wales.

We cannot have Boris Johnson blunder his way through this again, telling everyone to eat out to help out, and then appearing surprised when the virus’ ugly head reemerges with a vengeance.

Chief Medical Officer...

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