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Medical experts including UEA doctor urge government to rethink coronavirus policy

PUBLISHED: 15:05 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:05 23 September 2020

More than 30 medical experts, including a UEA doctor, have called on Boris Johnson's government to reconsider its handling of the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

More than 30 medical experts, including a UEA doctor, have called on Boris Johnson's government to reconsider its handling of the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

More than 30 medical experts including a doctor from the UEA have signed a letter calling on the government to change its strategy in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 30 medical experts have called on the government, chief medical officer Chris Whitty (left) and chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance to reconsider their handling of the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Yui Mok /PA WireMore than 30 medical experts have called on the government, chief medical officer Chris Whitty (left) and chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance to reconsider their handling of the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Yui Mok /PA Wire

The letter, penned by four authors and supported by 28 professors and doctors, says “more targeted measures” protecting the country’s most vulnerable from the virus should be adopted.

Writing to the prime minister, chancellor, chief scientific advisor and the UKs four chief medical officers, they say existing government policy is “inconsistent with the known risk-profile of Covid-19 and should be reconsidered.

Under fresh restrictions announced on Tuesday (September 22), people have been told they should work from home where possible and plans to allow fans to return to sporting events have been paused.

Pubs, bars and restaurants must now close at 10pm and the wearing of face masks has been made compulsory for bar staff, non-seated customers, shop workers and waiters.

More than 30 medical experts have called on the government, including chancellor Rishi Sunak, to reconsider its handling of the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA WireMore than 30 medical experts have called on the government, including chancellor Rishi Sunak, to reconsider its handling of the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The latest rules were revealed by Boris Johnson just eight days after the new ‘rule of six’ was introduced, banning social gatherings of seven people or more.

Fines for not wearing masks or following the rules have been doubled to £200 for first offence.

But in the letter signed by Dr Julii Brainard, from the UEA’s Epidemiology and Public Health Research Group, medical professionals from across the nation have offered their expertise in an attempt to prompt a government re-think over its handling of the virus.

It reads: “The unstated objective currently appears to be one of suppression of the virus, until such a time that a vaccine can be deployed.

“This objective is increasingly unfeasible and is leading to significant harm across all age groups, which likely offsets any benefits.

“Instead, more targeted measures that protect the most vulnerable from Covid, whilst not adversely impacting those not at risk, are more supportable.

“Given the high proportion of Covid deaths in care homes, these should be a priority. Such targeted measures should be explored as a matter of urgency, as the logical cornerstone of our future strategy.”

The letter’s writers also highlight concerns over the tone of the debate surrounding coronavirus, stating it is “unhelpfully polarised” around extreme views.

They add: “We are mindful that the current circumstances are challenging, and that all policy decisions are difficult. Moreover, many people have sadly lost loved ones to Covid-19.

“Nonetheless, the current debate appears unhelpfully polarised around views that Covid is extremely deadly to all; and on the other hand, those who believe Covid poses no risk at all.

“We think now is the right time to ‘step back’ and fundamentally reconsider the path forward.”


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