Here’s What The UK Government Was Told By Scientists, Said In Public, And Did On The Big Coronavirus Issues

Feb 4: O modeling group says it's “It is not clear whether outbreaks can be contained by isolating and tracking contracts. If a high proportion of asymptomatic cases are infectious, containment through these policies is unlikely. "

Feb 17: A non-peer-reviewed article later published in the Sage the website describes "contact tracking as" a central public health response to outbreaks of infectious diseases, especially in the early stages of an outbreak when specific treatments are limited ".

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Feb 26: Matt Hancock tells deputies the government is testing a "very large number" of people who came back from countries with coronavirus.

March 3: The government coronavirus action plan is launched. Now we are in the "contain" phase: "detect early cases, monitor close contacts and prevent the disease from occurring in this country for as long as is reasonably possible".

March 5th: Jenny Harries tells the health selection committee: "We have a test that Public Health in England developed very early in the outbreak for symptomatic individuals at the time … we can do 2,000 tests a day and I think that on March 13, there will be 3,200 with new laboratories on board."

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March, 9: Public Health England says the NHS will be brought in to relieve tension in your labs, helping to test samples of those with symptoms, doubling the number of tests that can be performed daily from 2,000 to 4,000.

March 11: Hancock is pressured by deputies on the testing regime. An SNP MP calls for "faster and broader tests so that milder cases can be diagnosed quickly, isolated and spread reduced". He says, "We are absolutely increasing the testing capabilities."

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March 12: The UK moves from the “contain” phase to the “delay” phase of your coronavirus plan. Health professionals will no longer test people in their homes, but will continue to test people who are already in hospitals.

March 16th: Whitty says that government is expanding testing. The United Kingdom carried out about 44,000 tests, South Korea tested more than 248,647.

March 17: Vallance is questioned by a selected committee on South Korea's testing and tracking strategy. "I think that would be absolutely brilliant in January," he says. "In the beginning, this type of approach makes perfect sense."

He says: “England's Public Health has a capacity of about 4,000 people [tests] per day. This will clearly not be enough going forward ".

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He adds that the priorities are “they are patients admitted to intensive care units; those with respiratory illnesses in the hospital, pneumonia in particular; isolated cluster outbreaks, to ensure that we can understand what is happening there; and GP surveillance systems to try to understand what is happening in the community ”.

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Asked about the decision to stop testing in the community, he says that “this is what we had to do with the capacity we have. We need to use the tests in the right place at the moment. We simply do not have mass tests available to the population now ”.

March 18th: Boris Johnson announces a plan for perform 25,000 tests per day. The next day, he says the daily tests will go "from 5,000 a day to 10,000 to 25,000 and then go up to 250,000".

March 24: The government announces it has purchased 3.5 million antibody tests.

25th March: Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, told parliamentarians on the science and technology committee that mass tests in the UK will be possible "in a few days".

Her prediction is drowned out by Chris Whitty at the time of the government press conference later. “If they're incredibly accurate, we'll find the quickest way to get them out. If they are not accurate, we will not disclose any of them. ”Whitty adds that the delay in testing is due to a lack of chemicals.

March 26th: Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries rejects World Health's advice to "test, test, test". She says that screening and contact testing are still taking place in “high risk” establishments, such as prisons and nursing homes, but suggesting that the WHO's advice is for less economically advanced countries, it is "It is not an appropriate mechanism as we move forward".

Yvonne Doyle, England's director of public health protection for health, told the health selection committee that the “ship had sailed” in contact tracking in mid-March: “it became clear to us that there was what I call alleys no exit from contacts in which you had one. In this case, you tried to find the contact, and that simply was not possible, because it gave us the indication that there was sustained community transmission ”.

She says the situation was different in South Korea – there were "groups of cases where the initial transmission was well understood, because they were in specific communities and, in fact, it was quite regional".

"They were using people's personal data, including their bank accounts, and people were willing to pass that information on to get in touch with the tracking. It was very personal information. We analyzed this, and SAGE analyzed it and thought it was not appropriate here, "she says.

She describes a plan “for 1 million tests, which people can do for themselves … they can do a blood test, send it back to the post and analyze it. This is an antibody test that tells you if you have had the disease.

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