UK has one of worst Covid-19 death rates due to slow lockdown and issues with PPE and track and track - YEP letters

FROM: Annie Whitehead, Leeds

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 6:00 am
The government failed to act on Exercise Cygnus warnings and didn't implement lockdown early enough.

I believe your reader last week was wrong in his analysis of why the UK has one of the worst Covid-19 death rates in the world.

The UK has a high density of population, however many cities and countries with comparable densities to the UK have managed their pandemic much better than us. This high death rate was initially due to failing to lockdown quickly enough, so the virus took hold.

Also, not cancelling Cheltenham Festival, which had a quarter of a million people crammed into a small space the week before lockdown and who had travelled from many locations, contributed to infection transmission.

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Exercise Cygnus was a simulation exercise by Public Health England in October 2016 which highlighted the fact that the NHS had a significant lack of preparedness for a pandemic, including a serious lack of PPE provision.

This warning was not acted upon by the Government directly leading to Covid-19 deaths.

Finally the Track and Trace system in this country was contracted out to the private sector to companies with no relevant expertise.

This system should have been implemented by the Directors’ of Public Health, as their staff already have the expertise in this discipline. This decision was an ideological choice.

Other mistakes include confusing messaging about social distancing.

For example many people do not realise it should be two metres apart where possible rather than one metre plus as the norm.