Half of the UK population could have already got infected by COVID-19, reveals Oxford research

  • New Coronavirus was circulating in the UK by mid-January

  • The new study suggests the Coronavirus could have enough time to spread widely in UK

The Novel Coronavirus has infected 423,121 people in the world and killed 18,919 individuals including doctors, such as whistleblower Li Wenliang two died after contracting it, government officials and healthcare staffs. A recent study by the researchers at the University of Oxford revealed that even though the reported COVID-19 cases are 8,164, the deadly virus could have infected as much as half of the population of UK.

The recent study suggested that the new Coronavirus was circulating in the UK by mid-January, which means the pathogen could have enough time to spread widely, with many Britons acquiring immunity.

The Coronavirus in UK

Face Masks
Coronavirus (Representational picture) Pixabay

On March 16, considering the alarming situation, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that people should stop socialising, avoid travelling and stay in isolation if a family member becomes ill. Later a report by Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team showed that the 260,000 people could have died if the UK hadn't changed its combating strategy by tightening rules.

Now another study by the Oxford University claimed that the Coronavirus could already have infected half of the British population. A professor of theoretical epidemiology who led the study, Sunetra Gupta said that testing was needed to assess the theory. She mentioned that there is an immediate need of a large-scale serological survey – antibody testing – "To assess what stage of the epidemic we are in now."

This revelation came after UK's death toll hit 422, including 87 patients died overnight, while in Tuesday the country reported 71 fatalities due to the COVID-19 disease. But the actual size of the Coronavirus outbreak is hidden because of UK Government's controversial decision to only test patients in the hospital, even though WHO earlier has appealed people to go for test, test and test without delay to stem the fast-spreading coronavirus in the wake of new estimates about its potential. It is possible that the true size of the outbreak is to be closer to the 400,000 marks.

Are people following lockdown measures?

In a recently uploaded shocking video, it was clear how UK police were forced to use a megaphone to disperse large crowds of people in London who are roaming around despite the lockdown measure introduced by PM Johnson. The video also showed that a police officer asked people, "You can't stay on the green, can you all go home. Can you all go home please this is not a holiday, it's a lockdown, which means you don't just come here and sunbathe. Please just leave."

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has launched a drive for a 250,000 strong "volunteer army" to boost the NHS and stop it being swamped amid the Novel Coronavirus crisis. Hancock said that he wanted volunteers to come forward to bolster local services. He also revealed that a new hospital, the NHS Nightingale, is being created at the Excel Centre in London to help the patients of COVID-19.

Hancock told MPs in the Commons that "The spread of coronavirus is rapidly accelerating across the world and in the UK. The actions we took yesterday are not actions that any UK government would want to take but they are absolutely necessary. Our instruction is simple: stay at home."

In addition, he also said that these measures are not advised as these are rules which will be enforced including by the police, with fines starting at £30 up to unlimited fines for non-compliance.

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