The UK is preparing, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, to “live with the virus”. This is what emerges from a leaked document from government circles. The draft contains hypotheses on what will happen after the long-awaited phase 4, namely the removal of the latest restrictions that should have taken place on 21 June but which, due to the Indian variant responsible for a rapid increase in infections, has been postponed to 19. July. A month is needed to speed up the administration of second doses to the most vulnerable, vaccinate the youngest with the first (the eighteen-year-old began yesterday) and secure nursing homes. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has in fact decided to make vaccination mandatory for employees of these institutions and is considering extending this measure to those who work in the national health system, the NHS.
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In the meantime, however, the team of experts is hard at work and is evaluating a series of recommendations for the government on how the country will have to live with the virus even after 19 July. Starting from work: in fact, in the document it is advisable to further extend home working where possible. A position that will cause a lot of discussion in the coming weeks.
With regard to the spacing of one meter, which during Step 4 will no longer be mandatory, the experts are rethinking new rules to make closed places safer, first of all precisely those of work. Such as the request to offices to install ventilation systems to facilitate air exchange. Another hypothesis on the table concerns the masks so that they remain in use for a long time in certain contexts.
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Autumn and winter are expected to be anything but Covid-free: according to the document, in fact, it will be necessary to continue to take some precautions. Firstly, because according to scientists, the specter of a new wave is far from unlikely, especially when the cold climate will encourage indoor encounters where the virus is more transmissible.
And secondly because the scenario of reviewing the health system under great pressure again is a realistic concern, and scientists want to avert it by any means. In this regard, it is not good news that concerns the plexiglass panels that many places, including restaurants and offices, have implemented to host customers safely. According to what is recommended by experts, more than preventing the transmission of the virus, in fact, they risk favoring it since, if implemented in the wrong way as often happens, they hinder the natural recirculation of air. A new measure, therefore, could include the obligation to remove these barriers.
The usual approach to common symptoms, such as cough or fever, and more specific ones such as loss of taste and smell, will also have to change. Anyone with one of these disorders will have to isolate themselves at home until a test excludes ongoing Covid infection, the draft reads.
There is no good news even for those who regularly travel abroad and for the tourism sector. In fact, the advice is to keep a period of isolation in vogue upon return, to avoid the spread of new variants.
Government sources reiterated that no decision has been made on what will happen after July 19 and that, they explain, making predictions is still premature. However, the scenarios described above speak for themselves: with freedom day, the United Kingdom will not return to life before Covid-19.
Wednesday 16 June 2021, 22:00 – Last updated: 22:27
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