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Don’t lift lockdown until virus ‘near eliminated’, BMA warns Government

Don’t lift lockdown until virus ‘near eliminated’, BMA warns Government

The Government must take ‘cautious approach’ to lifting lockdown restrictions otherwise the NHS will be overwhelmed, the BMA has warned.

The doctors’ union further said the easing must be connected with measurable metrics and targets on virus circulation – which should be at a ‘near elimination’ level – rather than a calendar date.

The BMA warned the lockdown easing it must be accompanied by clear messaging and strong steps to prevent re-importation of the coronavirus.

The report said: ‘The BMA has consistently called for a comprehensive and robust approach to reducing transmission of COVID-19, and supports a ‘near elimination’ strategy intended to drive spread of the virus down to a low level. There is growing consensus that achieving and maintaining a 7-day case rate of 10 infections or fewer per 100,000 of population – under
1,000 new cases per day – would enable rapid and effective containment of any local outbreaks through testing, contact tracing, self-isolation and support for new cases.

‘It is vital that any significant easing of current restrictions is linked to such metrics, rather than fixed to an arbitrary date.’

The BMA argued that while the Covid vaccination campaign ‘will help to protect those most at risk from the virus and may also have a wider impact on transmission of the virus’, ‘it will take time to achieve high levels of vaccine coverage across the UK population’.

And while the majority of severe illness, hospitalisation and death occurs among older adults, younger people – including many healthcare workers – are affected by long term effects of the virus, the BMA stressed.

It said: ‘Uncertainty around the impact of these longer term consequences of COVID-19 lends further support to the adoption of a cautious and measured approach to easing restrictions.’

BMA deputy chair of council Dr David Wrigley said: ‘This is a pivotal moment in the next phase of this pandemic, which is why we must proceed with absolute caution when it comes to considering how and when lockdown restrictions might be eased…

‘It is only by looking at both NHS pressures and rates of infection that we can accurately gauge when to start easing the current lockdown, not only to prevent our health service from crumbling, but also to prevent the immeasurable grief for more families from losing someone close to this dreadful virus.’

The BMA has also joined a call for the Government to urgently review PPE guidance to improve the safety of healthcare workers.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 19 February, 2021 9:28 pm

Book your xmas leave now.

Colin Howat 19 February, 2021 10:43 pm

I am a GP, I am also a member of the public, I am also ‘apparently’ in the shielding group who gave up trying to work from home after 6 weeks in the initial lockdown continuing to see appropriate patients F2F. I am worn out by telephone consulting. As immunization moves apace, even with first dose, we need to relax and come out of lockdown..
Remember it was 3 weeks to save the NHS! Here we are in a worse situation 1 year later. ‘Near elimination’, to nebulous and to far away.
I have teenage children who’s lives are being decimated. We need to start relaxing rules sooner rather than later for mental health alone.
The BMA have no concept of reality. I stopped my membership of that organization in 2004 after the disastrous 2004 contract.

Anne Largie 20 February, 2021 11:44 am

Vaccines are not the answer and adverse effects unknown
Sadly gps like myself have been coerced into this whole vaccination programme and genuine concerns Re adverse effects eg antibody enhanced disease has been suppressed from the public who think it’s their lifeline to normality
Most people can’t get face to face help
This can not continue as it is

Dave Haddock 20 February, 2021 1:13 pm

Don’t relax lockdown whilst some people in the private sector still have jobs, country must be completely bankrupted first urges BMA.

David Jarvis 22 February, 2021 12:05 pm

Concerns about vaccines? Any evidence of worsening disease of which you speak? Outbreak of COVID in care home who were vaccinated. Nursing patients and no deaths 10 days in. They were only 2 weeks post AZ when this happened. Patient discharged from hospital isolated and tested but then ill day after out of isolation and positive followed by 18 more cases including staff over next 5 days.
Some hospital uptake is poor in medical staff whereas we are over 90% in top 4 risk groups. Why this inate fear of vaccine in educated people. I don’t understand it. I went to the gulf ar in 1991 and had the vaccines with no ill effects as yet.

Dave Haddock 22 February, 2021 7:25 pm

Some uptake rates in hospital staff are poor because it’s too difficult to get a Vaccine.

A non 23 February, 2021 12:42 am

The BMA is consistently stupid
Just who do they think they are kidding..they think we should be aiming for “elimination” of the covid-19 before restrictions are lifted?? Like we can ‘eliminate’ this virus?? We aren’t going to ‘eliminate’ covid-19 just as we arent going to ‘eliminate’ influenza. We have to find a way of living with it. Destroying the economy and the lives of half the country wont ‘eliminate’’ll just turn us all mad. Get real.

A non 23 February, 2021 12:50 am

..and as for the comments of Dr?? Anne Largie. Give us a break. What a load of twaddle