Source: United Kingdom – Science Media Centre
In a statement to the house of commons the Prime Minister outlined a proposed new three-tier system of COVID-19 alert and restrictions, and what the new measures will be for certain areas this week.
Prof Linda Bauld, Professor of Public Health, University of Edinburgh, said:
“The introduction of a three tier system does provide greater clarity on what will happen in parts of England to try and address the current rise in Covid-19 cases. There has been some debate about why hospitality venues will be closed in the ‘very high’ tier and it’s important to understand why that is occurring. These closures are already in place in the central belt of Scotland.
“It’s difficult to identify precisely where people come into contact with SARS-CoV-2 when we use information from contact tracing and haven’t sequenced viral samples. People who test positive and then discuss with a contact tracer where they have been are likely to have visited several types of different venues. A recent evidence paper from the Chief Medical Officer and colleagues in Scotland1 reported that, overall, hospitality is the second largest category after family (household) clusters in Scotland, although as a proportion this category has fluctuated a bit over the weeks.
“However, it is not as straightforward as ‘counting’ settings. People are likely to spend longer in a pub or restaurant than in a shop, for example, and there is more face to face contact without face coverings on when people are eating and drinking. Hospitality venues are indoors where ventilation may be more limited and physical distancing may not always be maintained when alcohol is involved. It’s also the case in other countries, unfortunately, that case numbers and clusters have been linked to hospitality venues and we can see that other countries and cities in Europe have taken the difficult decision to close pubs and restaurants as case numbers have risen.”
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