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Thursday, June 4, 2020

Starmer: We will work with the PM to fight Covid-19 in the national interest | Politics

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Keir Starmer has promised to work with Boris Johnson “In the national interest” to guide Britain through the growing epidemic of coronavirus, after the Prime Minister issued a letter urging leaders of opposition parties to “work together” with the government.

During a telephone call with the Prime Minister after his election Workforce Leader Starmer offered to work constructively with the Prime Minister and not provide “opposition on behalf of the opposition”. However, as pandemic experts warned this weekend on the difficult path out of the lockdown, Starmer said he would “denounce” the government for failing its strategy.

Starmer has agreed to meet with the Prime Minister this week. Johnson remained self-isolated on Saturday with a temperature after contracting the virus. The engagement between the party leaders came as:

The number of new daily cases of Covid-19 has increased from 4,450 on Friday to 3,735 in total, which suggests hope of spreading the disease. The total number of cases of illness in the UK now stands at 41,903. A further 708 people have died.

It appeared that 212 patients in the Midlands have died after being tested positive for the coronavirus in the past 24 hours – more than London, which has been the hardest hit so far, with 127 deaths.

There were signs of a slight decline in public confidence in the government’s management of the pandemic. An Opinium survey for the Observer found that government management approval went from + 42% net approval last week to + 23% this week.

Michael Gove, the cabinet minister, warned that there was evidence that young people were less compliant with orders of social distancing, while he pleaded with the public to exercise “restraint” and take action. locking.

It was announced that the Queen would praise the nation for its “self-discipline” and “resolution” during the coronavirus pandemic in a rare television address broadcast on Sunday.

Cambridge University statistician Sir David Speigelhalter said the decline in the number of new cases was cause for optimism. “I am relieved. We should see a flattening of the ascending curve of new cases and these figures are fully consistent with such a trend. We are starting to see a stabilization in the spread of the disease,” he said.

But as ministers ask the public to stay home, Whitehall is concerned that the lockdown will continue in the weeks to come. A source said, “If the numbers turn, the front pages saying we win the war, it will be difficult. Basically at the moment, no one is going outside. If it changes, it could change quickly. “

A leading pandemic expert also warned that breaches “ranging from unpreparedness to complacency” meant that there was no longer any alternative to strengthening immunity in the population, whether by a progressive infection or through vaccination – which could be in over a year. .

François Balloux, professor of computer systems biology and director of the Institute of Genetics at University College London, said: “Personally, I see no viable alternative to strengthening immunity in the population, for example through infection or vaccination. What is essential is to minimize hospital overload, to ensure that mortality remains as low as possible. There was a window of opportunity earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic, where it could have been brought under control. We missed it for a variety of reasons, ranging from unpreparedness to complacency. We have to analyze our failures in the future, but now is not the time to blame. “

A No. 10 spokesperson replied, “As the Prime Minister said, we are working on a step-by-step action plan led by scientists – taking the right steps at the right time.”

However, there is now an open debate in Whitehall and the scientific community on the best way out of the foreclosure measures, which, according to government advisers, may have to be in place until the end of May.

Professor Martin Hibberd of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine highlighted the effective strategies used in other countries. These involved very large-scale testing and as much contact tracing as possible, to identify people with the virus. “This strategy was difficult to implement at the start of the epidemic, due to logistical problems in such large-scale testing and our lack of experience in large-scale contact tracing,” added Hibberd. “However, we should now be able to overcome these problems.”

Mark Woolhouse of the University of Edinburgh highlighted three key strategies for dealing with the epidemic. “Once the lockdown has brought the virus down to sufficiently low levels in the community, we can start tracking individual cases again. At the same time, we are strengthening the capacity of intensive care units in the NHS so that we can loosen the lock without overwhelming health services. And third, we are putting new emphasis on protecting the vulnerable. “

In contrast, John Edmunds, also of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, argued that the only way to proceed was to continue the foreclosure policy for many months. “The tests alone will not end this epidemic,” he said. “If you want the NHS to be successful, you will have to take extreme measures for a long time. There is no way out. We will have social distance for several months or the hospitals will be overwhelmed. Mass testing, mass contact tracing and more technology is fine, but what we really need is a vaccine. “

Starmer used his acceptance address to promise that the country could not resume normal activities once the pandemic is under control. “This virus has revealed the fragility of our society. He raised a curtain. Too many people will have given too much. Some of us will have lost too much. We know that in our hearts things are going to have to change, ”he said.

Carrie Symonds, the Prime Minister’s pregnant partner, revealed yesterday that she had spent a week in bed with the main symptoms of Covid-19, but said that she was “on the mend.”


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