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Coronavirus: Data needed quicker to target local outbreaks, say doctors

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Coronavirus: Data needed quicker to target local outbreaks, say doctors

Image copyright PA Media Image caption Blocking restrictions were reintroduced in Leicester after an increase in coronavirus cases

The government should provide vital data more quickly to local authorities to help them deal with Covid-19 spikes in their areas, doctors say.

The British Medical Association’s comments follow criticism about the time it took to get the test data to the Leicester authorities.

The city is the first to suffer a local blockade, after an increase in cases of coronavirus.

The government insisted that it was working closely with local partners.

However, BMA, the union representing doctors in the UK, said ministers need to be more open and transparent with Covid-19 data and how regional peaks of infection will be managed in the future.

BMA says its members have expressed concern about the possibility of a second wave of the virus “heightened by local crises”.

BMA chairman Dr. Chaand Nagpaul said that providing local leaders with up-to-date information is “vital” to containing outbreaks, mainly because a contact tracking application is not yet in place.

“The Prime Minister talked about a ‘attack a mole’ strategy to fight local outbreaks, but that is of no use if the people who lead the response in the field – whether they are public health teams or local leaders – don’t get the information anymore. you need up-to-date data so far, “he said.

The blockade is expected to further facilitate England on Saturday, including the reopening of bars, restaurants and beauty salons, but the BMA said it wants the government to establish metric “trigger points” for when steps will be taken to reintroduce local restrictions. and national.

The BMA said that this metric should consider not only the regional reproduction number or R rate – the number of people that an infected person, on average, will transmit the virus – but also the proportion of the population currently infected.

He also asked the government to:

  • share “timely, comprehensive and reliable information” to everyone involved in managing new cases at the local level
  • provide the public with “clear and consistent guidelines” that strict social detachment and infection control measures must continue to be respected, including the use of facial coverage in public places where social detachment is not possible
  • ensure adequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to areas affected by peaks located in infection rates and provide local health service providers with the power to decide how or when to re-prioritize care in the event of a new wave

A government spokesman said he was working closely with local partners, providing the resources and tools needed to take swift action to deal with any new local peaks of infection.

Scientists like Dr. Bharat Pankhania, a senior clinical professor at the University of Exeter, have warned that there will be local outbreaks in other areas of the country in the coming months.

He told the BBC that such outbreaks were “inevitable” and that testing and tracking of contacts should be led by local experts.

Under the local blockade, announced late Monday, non-essential stores in Leicester were forced to close and schools closed, except for vulnerable students and children of “critical workers”. People are also being advised not to travel in or out of the city.

The measures will last until at least July 18 and will apply to the city center and several suburbs.

  • Summary of the new Leicester blocking rules

But the mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, criticized the government and public health in England for being too slow to share test data with city officials.

He said city officials tried to obtain government figures “for weeks”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Leicester had “10% of all positive cases in the country last week”.

The city’s seven-day infection rate was 135 cases per 100,000 people – three times that of the next highest city.

Bradford, Barnsley and Rochdale saw 45 cases or more per 100,000 people in the past week.

The Health Department said that at 17:00 on Monday, 43,730 people had died of coronavirus in the UK, an increase of 155 the day before.

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