From 19 July, most COVID restrictions will be lifted in the UK, with the Govt's formal announcement noting that "Hospitalisations and deaths will continue to rise over the coming weeks and months" (this statement dated 12 July):… #UKfocus
The move is "dangerous and premature", warns a letter by more than 100 scientists & doctors published in @TheLancet… #UKfocus
See the list of signatories here:… (including at least 2 from Australia: @stephenduckett & @DrZoeHyde #UKfocus
The authors have 5 key concerns: 1. unmitigated transmission will disproportionately affect unvaccinated children and young people who have already suffered greatly. 2. high rates of transmission in schools and in children will lead to significant educational disruption #UKfocus
3. preliminary modelling data suggest the government's strategy provides fertile ground for the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants. This would place all at risk, including those already vaccinated, within the UK and globally. #UKfocus
"While vaccines can be updated, this requires time and resources, leaving many exposed in the interim. Spread of potentially more transmissible escape variants would disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged in our country and other countries with poor access to vaccines"
4. this strategy will have a significant impact on health services and exhausted health-care staff who have not yet recovered from previous infection waves...rising case numbers will inevitably lead to increased hospital admissions.. #UKfocus
And this at a time when millions of people are waiting for medical procedures and routine care.
The authors' 5th concern: these policies will continue to disproportionately affect the most vulnerable and marginalised, deepening inequalities.
The experts say "any strategy that tolerates high levels of infection to be both unethical and illogical", and urge the UK Gov to abandon its plan, which is a "dangerous and unethical experiment". #UKfocus
Instead, the government should delay complete re-opening until everyone, including adolescents, have been offered vaccination and uptake is high. #UKfocus
As well, they call for mitigation measures in schools, especially adequate ventilation (through investment in CO2 monitors and air filtration devices) and spacing (eg, by reducing class sizes). ping #AusPol #UKfocus
Ironic to call it "Freedom Day" when the Govt's own advice, '9 July guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19', makes clear that many people will feel anything but free.…
The UK Gov says, as of 12 July, the latest estimates show that 1 in 160 people have covid in England. By 19 July two thirds of adults will have received two doses and every adult will have been offered a first dose.… #UKfocus
As @guardian reports, the UK's move has global ramifications and is causing great alarm, for people in the UK and elsewhere.… #UKfocus
As @abcnews reports, England has only to look to the recent experience in the Netherlands to see what could happen next… #UKfocus
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has apologised for lifting restrictions too quickly. "What we thought would be possible, turned out not to be possible in practice," he said. "We had poor judgement, which we regret and for which we apologise." cc @BorisJohnson
Meanwhile, the Health Secretary Sajid Javid has tested positive for Covid and has 'very mild symptoms. He is vaccinated (2 doses). Meanwhile, more than 50,000 new cases are being reported each day in the UK.… #UKfocus
Linking you into emergency International summit on UK's "freedom day": #UKfocus
Ian Powell writes: If the scientists are right, and there is every reason to believe they are, New Zealand will need to consider extra precautions to protect us from virus infections from the UK. #UKfocus
Modelling reported in @bmj_latest on 14 July predicts that lifting restrictions on 19 July in the context of the delta variant could lead to a significant third wave of hospitalisations and deaths. #UKfocus
Also from @bmj_latest (16 July), two medical leaders warn that the UK Govt is pursuing "a policy that will result in mass infection, and which will result in huge levels of sickness and hospital admissions" #UKfocus
"The most vulnerable in our society are likely to be affected again, only this time the most vulnerable will be young people and children, who are not yet vaccinated," they write. #UKfocus
Read their full article here:… #UKfocus
Meanwhile, @MichaelMarmot & colleague Jessica Allen: the UK's health is poor and marked by large inequalities. It was poor before the pandemic, and our handling of the pandemic has made it worse.… #UKfocus
In which @stephenjduckett describes the UK Govt's decision to ease COVID restrictions as stupid on public health grounds and stupid on economic grounds. #UKfocus
A patient group in the UK has warned that thousands of predominantly young, active people are being condemned to prolonged ill-health and disability....… #UKfocus
They say long covid has not only been ignored in policy making decisions, and barely mentioned in the roadmap out of lockdown—it has been almost completely absent from the government’s public messaging. #UKfocus
"There is no healthy economy without a healthy population," they write. #UKfocus
The strategy of herd immunity is "murderous" and "unconscionable", says Dr William Haseltine ( #UKfocus @WRicciardi agrees with this description.
Meanwhile...Anger as Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak avoid isolation after being ‘pinged’… #UKfocus
Covid-19: Doctors warn of “disconnect” between NHS pressure and lifting of restrictions… #UKfocus
"The number of patients waiting for treatment through the NHS in England exceeded 5.3 million at the end of May 2021, with more than 330 000 patients waiting more than 52 weeks" #UKfocus

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De Schutter's 6-year mandate (2008-2014) coincided with the Global Food Crisis of 2007 - that preceded the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. He visited 13 countries, prepared 10 reports on thematic issues and 2 special reports on the Global Food Crisis -
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