UK’s reaction to COVID-19 seems to be that of “ostrich’s-head-in-the-sand”

UK’s wait-and-see position on the inevitable explosion of COVID-19 in the country seems to be motivated more by the fears of inciting panic through more resolute preventive actions as well as by visible considerations to minimise potential losses to the business than by the need to effectively do something to slow down the pace of the epidemic.

The Italian government at its recent emergency meeting took drastic measures to effectively close the whole country. Was it justified?

Here are a few facts known so far about the COVID-19 from internet sources:

1. Virus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is a highly mutational biological object. At present, five typical mutations of the virus have been identified, with all five forms different from the original sample dating to the start of the epidemic in December 2019.

2. Incubation latency of the virus in the human body is estimated to be up to 24 days.

3. The COVID-19 contagious virulence, depending on a form of its mutation, can vary from 15 to 40%.

4. Due to the increase of mutating forms in the European samples, some experts say that there may be an increased risk of incomplete identification of the virus by the standard test systems as well as a very high risk of failure to identify mutated forms by standard express test systems.

5. In such circumstances, one of the most effective containment strategies may be a preventive partial or complete quarantine (closure) of some densely populated areas and communities. And the earlier it is introduced, the lesser human and economic losses could be incurred in the future.

Similar measures have already been adopted by a number of countries, including the USA and most recently Ukraine. Closure of schools and reasonable restrictions or even a ban on public gatherings and events should be a natural response in this country as well. Especially after the news of potential risk to the main decision-making bodies of the country.

There’s an old Russian saying, which, to a certain extent, characterises a typical Slavic trait to ignore the danger until it occurs: “A man will not cross himself until he hears a thunder”. At the same time, there is another wisdom that goes: “The one who takes proper care gets the blessing”. And the choice, in this case, should be made in favour of the latter. Provided we all stay calm and carry on.

Yuri Poluneev