Scientists advise UK Government to toughen COVID-19 restrictions until late March

London [UK]: The United Kingdom can significantly reduce COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations if tougher restrictions are introduced and kept until the end of March, a group of Warwick University pandemic experts said in a consensus statement for the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
On December 8, UK Prime Minister announced so-called Plan B restrictions in England, including mandatory face masks and health certificates. British media said tougher restrictions can be considered as Omicron cases soared. The Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, Operational sub-group (SPI-M-O) has carried out modelling to assess effects of the potential return to so-called Step 2 restrictions, which were part of last year’s four-step anti-coronavirus roadmap, if introduced for a period of two weeks, four weeks or three months.
“Step 2 has a much larger effect, reducing the number of deaths up to 31st May by 39 per cent (24-54 per cent) if kept in place from 28th December until 28th March, and 18 per cent (12-27%) if kept in place until 15th January,” the SPI-M-O said in a report released on December 22.
The introduction of Step 2 restrictions will reduce peak pressure on hospitals by about 50 per cent than if only Plan B were to be kept, the experts said.
The UK cabinet has yet to respond to the report.

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