24.10.2021

Government failed to understand asymptomatic spread of Covid-19

Referencing his own time in hospital with covid-19, Mr Johnson called for a “summer of weight loss” in order to limit the harms of the pandemic. It is expected that ministers will soon unveil plans to curb obesity in the UK.

As the new rules on face coverings came into effect in England, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda joined a growing list of retailers who have said they will not challenge customers failing to wear a face covering, insisting that it falls on police to penalise people.

But John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation for England and Wales, said forces do not have the capacity to ensure every person who enters a store is wearing a face covering, and urged shops to refuse entry to anyone not obeying the law.

Pressed on whether the UK was too slow to enter lockdown, Boris Johnson has admitted that “maybe there were things we could have done differently”, conceding that the government failed to understand the extent to which coronavirus was spreading asymptomatically.

The prime minister told BBC News that “when you listen to the scientists, the questions that you’ve just asked are actually very open questions as far as they are concerned”, adding: “There will be a time obviously to consider all those issues.”

Mr Apter also called for understanding among the public, tweeting: “If you’re out shopping today and you see somebody not wearing a face covering it may be because they have a hidden disability. Don’t jump to conclusions, don’t have a go at them. This is new for us all, it’s about keeping each other safe. Please be nice.”

Meanwhile, figures published by Sage and the Government Office for Science showed that England’s rate of infection remained at a similar figure to the previous week, with no discernable spike following the reopening of pubs and restaurants.

In more stark analysis, the Office for National Statistics revealed that the poorest areas of England have suffered more than twice as many coronavirus deaths as the richest.

Coronavirus will haunt the UK until ‘the middle of next year’, Boris Johnson has warned – one week after appearing to promise “normality by Christmas”.

The prime minister switched tack again, highlighting “tough times ahead in keeping this virus under control and tough times economically”.

Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda are among the retailers who have said they will not challenge customers failing to wear a face covering and that it falls on police to penalise people.

However Police Federation chair John Apter said forces do not have the capacity to ensure every person who enters a store is wearing a face covering, and urged shops to refuse entry to anyone not obeying the law.

Lockdown restrictions imposed in countries around the world have not greatly reduced the number of people who died from Covid-19, a disputed US study has claimed.

Researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of Texas said obesity and age had a bigger impact on coronavirus mortality rates.

Governments around across the globe introduced lockdowns during the pandemic in an attempt to limit the spread of the novel disease, but the researchers claim the restrictions were “not associated” with death rates.

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