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UK in unidentified territory

UK in unidentified territory

At Paddington Station in central London, a mural made of a rainbow commemorates the “crisis”. COVID-19 2020 “. Infection is like a distant memory.

The virus may have spread rapidly among the British people – Prince Charles himself A positive test Two days after Her Majesty’s visit to Elizabeth II – the United Kingdom was one of the countries in a hurry to eliminate health measures.

Three weeks after most restrictions were lifted, Britain’s health care system remains intact. But compliance with a few more steps seems to be fading a little more every day. At a glance, 60% of travelers passing by the Rainbow mural at Paddington Station prefer to wear a face mask. The mask is mandatory on public transport.

Wearing a mask also seems random in stores. But it is no longer needed in restaurants, nor is it needed by customers or staff. The Vaccine passport Also deleted. Boris Johnson’s government is betting that more vaccines will protect the health care system.

The epidemic no longer makes headlines. When we talk about it, it refers to those who are “opposed” to such health measures The protesters are blocking Ambassador Bridge connecting Ottawa and Canada and the United States.

Obstacles to “freedom” in the cradle of parliamentary democracy pass with difficulty. Even those infected with the virus will soon be able to continue their business as usual: Prime Minister Johnson promised this week The rule is to remove the compulsion People isolate themselves After a positive test for Kovit-19.

Like Quebec, in the face of the government’s post-Govt open strategy, the British are divided into two camps: believers and anxious – both who consider themselves “realists”.

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Abandoning compulsory isolation in the event of an infection represents a logical continuation of “living with the virus,” Boris Johnson argued.

Bullshit, a group of independent experts created in the spring of 2020 argued: the abrupt abolition of health measures is purely political, in their opinion. Prime Minister Trying to save his own skin To be continued At the party gateThese parties were attended by Boris Johnson or other government officials during their imprisonment in 2020 and 2021.

“With caution and hope”

Three weeks after the deregulation, “all indicators must be acknowledged in the right direction,” underlines Colin Angus, principal researcher at the School of Public Health at the University of Sheffield in the north of the UK.

Despite the removal of most health measures on January 19, the curve of hospital admissions and deaths continues to decline significantly, he recalled. As of Friday, the number of newly admitted patients with COVID-19 was 10.7% lower than the seven-day average. Mortality (28 days after positive test for COVID-19) is 20% lower than the average for the last seven days.

“I’d say I’m cautious and optimistic,” says Colin Angus. Like everyone else, I like to believe that the worst is behind us and that we can start back as normal. But it is difficult to make predictions by Govt. You never know when a new variant will emerge. ⁇

Other surprises in sight

Sarah Pitt, a microbiologist at Brighton University, fears the “unpredictability” of the virus. She agrees that keeping the whole world locked indefinitely is unthinkable, but says more surprises are to be expected.

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Especially since COVID-19 is highly contagious: “A person infected with the flu can infect another person. But a person Omigron variant It pollutes seven or eight people on average, ”he told BBC Radio 5 this week.

Eliminating health activities – and the duty to isolate oneself during a positive test – creates a “pressure to go to work or other events” even if one is affected, the expert laments.

All of this takes the UK into unnamed territory. Alarm signals are emitted, especially in schools, where researcher Colin Angus explains that “we do not have a clear picture of the situation.” Students and school staff were banned from wearing the mask last month.

One thing is for sure, the concerns of teachers and parents are in Quebec. There is doubt about the quality of the air. The Ministry of Education has installed CO Readers2 In classes. The first solution proposed in the event of a breach of standard is to open the doors and windows. Teachers complain about frost.

Unlike Quebec, air purifier reiterates that it is “not environmentally friendly for schools”, with the UK ordering 9,000 devices fitted with HEPA filters in late January. The latest news is that the government says 1,265 UK schools have made “proper requests” to get one of these devices. The Ministry of Education says only 3% of campuses use a CO reader2 Charges requiring air purification have been announced.

Waiting lists

The similarities between the health systems of Quebec and the United Kingdom are striking. Despite the drop in hospital admissions due to the epidemic, the British health system is also under pressure, Colin Angus recalled.

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“The number of COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital for another reason is high,” he said. The presence of highly contagious patients creates a logical headache for health workers. This significantly undermines efforts to reduce the waiting list for other types of diseases, such as cancer, which have been set aside for two years. ⁇

The British Department of Health estimates that 10 million patients have failed to seek treatment for fear of going to the hospital since the outbreak began. More than 300,000 people have been on the waiting list for more than a year. For these hundreds of thousands of people, the “COVID-19 crisis” is far from a distant memory, triggered by a rainbow mural at Paddington station.

This report is partly funded by the Transat International Journalism Fund. Duty.

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