Coronavirus: We must all prepare for second wave as pubs re-open and we socialise more – Daniel Johnson MSP
With the pubs now open and the number of permitted household guests increased, many of us have understandably found solace in the company of friends.
While we have thankfully not seen a repeat of the outrageous and anti-social scenes in the Meadows yet, that flagrant disregard for social distancing poses a real threat.
The outbreak in Lanarkshire should serve as a wake-up call. The lesson from this and the Leicester outbreak is the virus can return and we must be ready.
To do this, we must learn lessons from other countries. South Korea, Japan and Singapore have had among the most effective responses to coronavirus. Each had significant and early exposure to the outbreak in China but have managed to keep infection and, most importantly, death rates low.
Interestingly, this early intervention meant these countries suppressed the virus more quickly but also avoided some of the more draconian measures implemented in Europe. The experience from these countries is that flare-ups will happen.
One interesting feature is that while these flare-ups have seen infection rates rise, death rates have not followed. Strong measures to protect the most vulnerable along with proactive test-and-trace regimes have been key.
There is no time for public inquiries, but the time we have now may allow us to learn lessons from mistakes made here and experiences abroad. The government must commission a rapid independent assessment. This could inform a plan to respond to flare-ups as more of us begin to socialise.
We all must prepare for a second wave.
Daniel Johnson is Scottish Labour MSP for Edinburgh Southern
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