Pressure has mounted on the Johnson government to reinstate restrictions due to the dramatic rise in Covid-19 infections and deaths in the UK. The way restrictions were lifted in the UK was reckless and many health experts have now concluded that the limitations should be re-imposed until the situation becomes more lucid.
Covid-19 Is Still Undefeated
Restrictions on Covid-19 have been almost entirely lifted for several months now. The lifting of restrictions in the UK comes as the Covid-19 pandemic is forging ahead. PM Boris Johnson surprised people with a simple gesture to convey this message. He used the face mask in the House of Commons for the first time in several months, although he has denied the spike in recent weeks. This change in the attitude and opinion of the UK Prime Minister shows that the political leadership is preparing itself and the people for stricter measures.
The Peak of the Disease Coincides with the Lifting of Restrictions
Statistics show that about 100 days after the lifting of restrictions in the UK and the announcement of Freedom Day in mid-July, the dire situation in this country is intensifying again. At the end of October, the number of new Covid patients reached an estimated 50,000 a day. Last Thursday, this number was exceeded for the first time in three months. The rate of new cases per 100,000 people has reached 465 people in one week, a very high number in the world.
Critical Condition in Hospitals
The rising number of patients is also showing its effects on hospitals. The current situation is critical in clinics in particular. At least two patients have recently died in the UK due to hours of waiting outside emergency rooms. Typically, the transfer from an ambulance to the emergency room should not take more than 15 minutes.
NHS Warning About the Dire Situation in the Country
The National Health Service (NHS) has also warned of a spike in Covid-19 cases in the country. It has ordered all hospitals to clear ambulance queues and not use the vehicle as extra waiting rooms. The British News Agency published this news based on an internal confidential letter. A patient is cared for by the crew for more than 13 hours in an ambulance these days.
The Tragic Situation of Covid-19 in England
Martin Flaherty OBE, Managing Director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE), also painted a sad picture of the situation, saying that the department under his responsibility is experiencing some of the highest emergency activities in its history due to the pandemic. He also said that the association was particularly concerned about unprecedented delays in delivering patients to emergency rooms across the UK.
Growing Pressure to Return Restrictions
In addition to warnings by the economic and scientific sectors, political pressure on the government to intensify Covid-19 actions has also increased. Some politicians have called on the government to implement a Plan B, which puts the return of some restrictions on the agenda. MPs were told to wear masks, tours of the building were cancelled, and some staff were notified to work from home.
Boris Johnson Neglects Bringing Covid-19 Under Control
The British Medical Association (BMA) Council Chair Chaand Nagpaul criticised the government last week for failing to contain Covid-19 and called for the re-imposition of restrictions. Earlier last week, Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned that the number of new cases per day could rise to 100,000 a day. “The Westminster Government said it would enact ‘Plan B’ to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed; as doctors working on the frontline, we can categorically say that time is now,” he said. Instead, he promised the people that the government would be vigilant. At the same time, he stressed that the current situation was challenging to interpret and announced: “It is therefore incredibly concerning that he is not willing to take immediate action to save lives and to protect the NHS especially as we head into winter when the NHS is in the grips of tackling the most giant backlog of care with an already depleted and exhausted workforce.”
Elimination of Mandatory Quarantine for Vaccinated People
The UK government has announced that it will remove the remaining seven countries from the list of high-risk areas to strengthen the tourism and air travel market. The UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated that not all people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will need mandatory quarantine.
Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru, Panama, Haiti and Venezuela are currently among the most dangerous countries for Covid-19 and on the so-called red list. The decision came after the UK government’s top medical adviser said the spread of new Covid-19 variants was not a cause for concern. Accordingly, the UK transport secretary issued a statement saying that the risk of unknown routes entering the UK has decreased. So the government can confidently remove the remaining seven countries from the red list.
The Government Rushed to Facilitate Travel to the UK
Meanwhile, the UK is identifying more countries from which the movement of passengers to this country can be eased. According to the official website of the British government, 135 countries are registered on this list. New changes have been made since the first day of the Glasgow Climate Summit. The transport secretary said that the list of high-risk countries for Covid-19 is reviewed every three weeks. He said the list would remain in place so that passengers could be quarantined if a new route was identified.
Increase in Passenger Tax on Flights
The move comes as the head of Britain’s biggest airport, Heathrow, announced losses of £3.4 billion ($4.68 billion) for the airport last week due to the Covid-19 pandemic and called on the government to facilitate health protocols for air travel. Heathrow is trying to make up for some of its losses by raising passenger taxes by 56% and reducing health protocols. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) permitted average passenger charges to increase from £22 to £24.50 in 2020, and £34.40 next year. The airport intended to raise taxes by 90% to compensate more quickly for the heavy losses caused by the pandemic, but this was opposed by officials.
Reduction of Air Travel After the Outbreak of Covid-19
Air travel figures have plummeted since the pandemic and experts predict that the situation will not return to normal for another five years. Last year, Heathrow, which hosts numerous short and long-haul flights, ceded the rank of Europe’s busiest airport to Charleroi de France.
The lifting of restrictions in the UK has led to a resurgence of the disease. The lifting of travel restrictions to the UK has caused concern in the country’s healthcare institutions. They are likely to take the country into new peaks of disease, quarantine, and restrictions. Experts warn that if the limitations are not re-imposed, the government will face a new rise in infections at Christmas that will be difficult to control, and the situation may worsen.