UK Could Face up to Six Waves of Chinese Coronavirus in the Next Year

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - APRIL 17: Members of the public are seen out on Princess Street during the coronavirus pandemic on April 17, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland.The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 120,000 lives and infecting over 2 million people. (Photo by Jeff …
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A leading professor has warned that the United Kingdom could face up to six waves of the Chinese coronavirus while calling on the government to adopt contact tracing of citizens to reduce the impact of the pandemic.

Professor Anthony Costello, of University College London’s Institute for Global Health, told MPs that Britain will likely see the highest death rate in Europe and that over the next year the country could face as many as six further waves of Covid-19 outbreaks.

“We all hope that the national lockdown and social distancing will bring about a large suppression of the epidemic; however, we are going to face further waves,” said Professor Costello in comments reported by Sky News.

Speaking via video link to Parliament’s Health and Social Care Committee, Costello suggested that Britain adopt contact tracing of coronavirus patients, as seen in South Korea and Singapore.

“We need to maintain social distancing of some kind when we lift the national lockdown, by focusing on the people we really want to lockdown, which are cases and contacts, Costello said, adding: “You need to find cases, test them if you can, trace their contacts, isolate them, do social distancing — but most importantly of all you do it all at speed.”

Professor Costello suggested that the high fatality rate in the United Kingdom was likely a result of the government’s slow response to the initial outbreak of the virus, but added that it was too early to assign “any blame at this stage”.

“We will probably have the highest death rate in Europe, we have to face the reality of that,” he said, adding that the nationwide total could eventually reach 40,000.

“We were too slow on a number of things, but we can make sure that in the second wave we’re not too slow,” Costello added.

On Friday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed that the British government will be releasing a contact tracing app, that would track the movements and contacts of those infected with the coronavirus.

“The app is itself a contact tracing app, that is the point of it, to be able to assist individuals to do contact tracing themselves by notifying people who they have been in close contact with when they have downloaded the app. And then of course link that to testing, so people can get the tests,” Hancock said per The Guardian.

A similar app was used in China during the initial phases of the pandemic. Though the app was not made mandatory by the government, citizens who refused to install it were banned from entering public spaces and from using public transport.

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