Thu, January 28, 2021


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Christina Pagel explains how the UK could break its cycle of lockdowns

Esteemed OR professional Christina Pagel has shared her thoughts with the British Medical Journal on how the UK can break its cycle of lockdowns. Whilst vaccination rollout is well underway, countries all over the world have been faced with the dilemma of when and how it will be safe to lift current restrictions.

Christina, director, Clinical Operational Research Unit, University College London, explained a four-step process that could allow the UK to get to a new normal.

Firstly, she suggests that the vaccination process must continue in earnest. The entire adult population must be vaccinated as quickly as possible to prevent long covid, severe illness, hospitalisations, and deaths. This measure itself will reduce transmission, although it is not known by how much yet.

Secondly, the strong restrictions currently in place must be in place until levels of transmission are back down to those seen last summer. Safer workplaces and more support for self-isolation will help to reduce the amount of time these restrictions are in place.

Thirdly, the contact tracing process must be improved to aggressively drive down case locally. This, complimented with easily accessible testing, testing of all close contacts and investment in quicker and easier tests would be enormously useful in supporting this effort.

Finally, there should be a stronger border control. Measures such as 14-day isolation for those entering the country (including returning citizens) and negative tests before or after travel should be required.

Christina finished by saying; “I don’t know, however, if any single country can realistically exit the pandemic unless all countries do. Without global suppression, a vaccine resistant strain is likely to emerge and covid will spread again. That’s why the ultimate solution is for the UK to work internationally to ensure rapid vaccination and a robust strategy for monitoring transmission, identifying new variants, and coordinated border control.”

To read the full piece, please visit the British Medical Journal website.