"Ultimately, we need a vaccine and vaccine creates herd immunity, not a disease which kills 400,000 people. So we've got to mobilise the country and I thought that's what they were preparing over the last month and they were obviously not doing it."
He was interviewed by Channel 4 News yesterday and when asked by Matt Frei : "Are we going to be Italy in two weeks from now ?"
He answered : "Yes. Look, you can't fight a virus if you don't know where it is. The basic principle of the World Health Organisation is that you find, test and isolate and treat every case, to break the chains of transmission and the UK policy is worrying because they announced at the press conference that they're going to stop population testing. That's crazy. That's not going to delay the epidemic, its going to accelerate it and we will certainly be in the same situation as Italy, whether its in 10 days or 2 weeks or a bit further. I don't have any problem with worrying or arguing about social distancing and mass gatherings and the timing of that, but we must be getting the data and what's happening and everything in the WHO Report from China is doable here. Why can't we do it ?
Matt Frei : "What should the Government be doing now ?"
The Professor : "They should be :
mobilising the country
setting up mobile testing centres
getting the test results down, like China, from 12 days to 3 days
identifying family clusters and getting them isolated
looking after people who can't look after themselves in isolation centres
getting CT scans out into the communities or into populations where they can get them quickly if they've got pneumonia
and obviously do the treatment the the NHS can provide, but you've got to prevent and we can get this down. It's worked in China. It's worked in Korea. It's worked in Singapore. Giving up now and saying : "Well, we're just going to let this rip. It's going to cause a catastrophe."
When asked about Italy he said :
"They're trying to cope like China did with the explosion of cases in Wuhan and when they realised they'd messed up, they put in place all of this structure Iv'e described and it took 7 weeks, but after 7 weeks they had it under control and more, if it is going to flare up again, when they loosen things, they've got a nation wide system in place and they've got the data, they've got the mechanism and they loosen it gently and then dampen it down again. Ultimately, we need a vaccine and vaccine creates herd immunity, not a disease which kills 400,00 people. So we've got to mobilise the country and I thought that what they were preparing over the last month and they were obviously not doing it."
Matt Frei : "Can we turn this round at this stage ? Yes or No ?"
The Professor : "Yes, I think we can. It's going to take time. It'll take 2 months at least. But why not ? Why can Asian countries do it and we can't ?"
Might this time of crisis be just the time for sympathy groups to be formed ?