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'The UK needs a sustainable strategy for COVID-19'

As the UK’s second lockdown gets underway, a group of 79 researchers, public health professionals, and healthcare workers are calling for a sustainable public health strategy for COVID-19.

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The letter, coordinated by Dr Deepti Gurdasani from Queen Mary University of London and published today in The Lancet, makes seven recommendations, including reforming the find, test, trace, isolate and support system, providing sufficient economic and social support during lockdown, and implementing a pandemic response and travel restrictions that are co-ordinated across the UK and Europe.

“To avoid repeated lockdowns and their impacts,” the authors write, “we need a sustainable COVID-19 public health strategy.”

The authors warn that daily COVID-19 deaths have doubled every fortnight since early September, with 2,067 COVID-19 deaths in the last week and around 12,000 more likely in the next month. With 12,000 patients currently hospitalised with COVID-19, they say that health services are close to capacity in many regions.

Towards a sustainable COVID-19 strategy
Towards a sustainable COVID-19 strategy

The group, which comprises experts in public health, epidemiology, medicine, sociology, behavioural sciences, infectious disease, psychiatry and health policy, make the following recommendations for a sustainable COVID-19 strategy for the UK:

  • Urgent reform of the find, test, trace, isolate and support system
  • Supporting and protecting health services
  • Ensuring safe continued and undisrupted education for children of all ages by minimising transmission in community and educational settings
  • Comprehensive economic support packages for the population
  • A robust regulatory system and financial support to help employers and businesses make their facilities safe
  • Coordination across the UK and with continental Europe
  • Clear and consistent public health messaging

The authors conclude: “Controlling the spread of COVID-19 is possible. We need to learn from the mistakes of the last 9 months, lest we find ourselves here yet again.”

More information

  • ‘The UK needs a sustainable strategy for COVID-19’ by Gurdasani et al. The Lancet.
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