The number of Covid-19 victims is increasing on the island, and there are now more fatalities than in Italy. The government is under pressure.
Boris Johnson can also be seen as eloquent when it comes to corona: the virus is like an “unexpected and invisible predator” the British Prime Minister said a few days ago, “And now the moment has come when we started wrestling him to the ground together”. Great Britain have “obviously success”.
But it is by no means obvious that the British have had a success – on the contrary. With over 32,375 deaths, Covid-19 more lives are required in Great Britain than in Italy. Britain is “the sick man of Europe,” headlines the Daily Mail tabloid on its website, “only the United States reported more deaths.”
Even in Italy be it less. And according to the Times, which, in addition to the official deaths related to Corona, also took into account the average number of deaths in recent years, 55,700 Britons may have died as a result of the pandemic.
Criticism is voiced among health experts. “This is a very sobering and unsightly milestone,” said Claudia Paoloni, president of the Union of Hospital Advisers and Health Specialists. The government had to ask why it reacted so “inappropriately” to the crisis.
The numbers “raise the question of whether the government acted quickly enough at the beginning of the pandemic and, above all, whether the restrictions should have been imposed earlier,” she says.
In addition, one would have had to be better prepared to test and track infected people. In both aspects, the measures were “not appropriate”.
Too few tests
The government has rejected such accusations. The government’s scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, admitted to a parliamentary committee that looking back, some things “might have been done differently”. But government officials also expect to face a public investigation.
Many critics accuse the government of under-performing tests and failing to procure adequate testing and protective clothing for hospitals and care facilities too late. The government had also introduced no entry restrictions.
According to the British Guardian, less than 300 of the 18.1 million people who traveled to the UK in the three months before the end of March were officially quarantined, with planes coming from badly affected countries such as Italy and China almost every day or Iran.
And while scientists warned in early March that shaking hands and other contacts should be avoided, the prime minister publicly boasted about ignoring such precautions.
The prime minister only really took the situation seriously when he was admitted to intensive care because of his Covid 19 illness. There he seems to have undergone a change of heart: since returning to his office, Premier Johnson has appealed to the patience of the population and warns against wanting to return to normal too quickly.
Since the end of March, almost all shops, restaurants and public facilities have been closed and people are staying at home. But calls for an end to the restrictions are also being heard in Great Britain – albeit significantly less than in Germany.
A survey conducted by the market research company Opinium for the “Observer” last week showed that 67 percent of the British surveyed want to continue with the measures. On the other hand, just nine percent would advocate that the pubs so valued in Great Britain are already starting up again.
Here The lockdown is leaving ever deeper marks in the UK economy. According to current figures, there was a record slump in new car registrations in April of almost 100 percent. The IHS Markit / Cips purchasing manager index fell to 13.8 points, well below the otherwise decisive 50 point mark, which indicates whether respondents are positive or negative for the next few months.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index “thus underlines that the weakness of the British economy in the second quarter of 2020 will be much stronger and more extensive than anything we have experienced so far,” said IHS Markit economist Tim Moore.
The government has introduced aid worth billions – but this support is increasingly proving to be a burden on the state budget. The government is currently funding almost 20 percent of its employees through its short-time work benefit system, which covers up to 80 percent of salaries.
The government has to decide this Thursday for how long and to what extent the restrictions will be maintained. Prime Minister Johnson apparently plans to announce future measures on Sunday, but is not expected to ease immediately.
There is still discussion about how to proceed – for example, whether individual regions or age groups are treated differently. The government is also reportedly planning to make changes to short-time work benefits and plans to pay 60 percent instead of 80 percent of its former salary in July. Officially, the government doesn’t want to say anything yet.
The resignation of the British epidemiologist Neil Ferguson from his post as a scientific government advisor proves that at least parts of the population are increasingly displeased with the long restrictions.
The professor, who has been called “Professor Lockdown” because of his numerous studies and public appearances since the pandemic broke out, had to admit that he had disregarded the pandemic containment rules.
According to several newspapers, Ferguson had a relationship with a married woman, who is said to have visited him several times despite the strict exit restrictions.