UK’s coronavirus lockdown revealed to have prevented half a million deaths

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However, some experts believe the lockdown restrictions were brought in too late and was not strict enough compared to the measures other countries imposed. It comes after it has been revealed that over 40,000 people have died after contracting the virus in the UK, becoming the country with most coronavirus deaths in Europe.

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A team of researchers from Imperial College London have observed data from 11 European countries, including the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany and Belgium, up until May 4 to find out infection rates.

It estimateed that by May 4 between 12 and 15 million in these nations had contracted coronavirus.

When contrasting the amount of observed fatalities and the number predicted by their model without the measures in place, the researchers estimate that approximately 3.1 million deaths have been avoided thanks to the precautionary restrictions.

In the UK 29,000 people had died from coronavirus as of May 4, but the authors calculated 500,000 lives could have been lost to the disease by that time without the lockdown.

UK’s coronavirus lockdown revealed to have prevented half a million deaths

UK’s coronavirus lockdown revealed to have prevented half a million deaths (Image: Getty)

The team has also estimated 5.1 of the UK’s population had contracted the virus by that point.

Their study points out that the R rate has been decreased to below one in every country observed thanks to the measures.

The R rate is the average number of people one infected person can transmit the virus to.

The value has been decreased by an average of 82 percent although each country has a different number.

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UK’s coronavirus lockdown revealed to have prevented half a million deaths

London’s streets were left empty during lockdown (Image: Getty)

Dr Samir Bhatt, study author from the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Jameel Institute (J-IDEA), Imperial College London, said: “This data suggests that without any interventions, such as lockdown and school closures, there could have been many more deaths from Covid-19.

“The rate of transmission has declined from high levels to ones under control in all European countries we study.

“Our analysis also suggests far more infections in these European countries than previously estimated.

“Careful consideration should now be given to the continued measures that are needed to keep SARS-CoV-2 transmission under control.”

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UK’s coronavirus lockdown revealed to have prevented half a million deaths

Coronavirus symptoms to watch for (Image: Express)

However, researchers warned that the findings, which were published in the journal Nature, represent a general estimation of the current conditions that may not take into report diverse findings in other methods.

The research assumes that each lockdown had the same impact on all countries, but in reality each country’s lockdown was different.

The researchers found that lockdown, however, has a relevant impact in lowering the R rate below one and has helped stop the spread as of the beginning of May.

Dr Seth Flaxman, study author from the Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London, added: “Using a model based on data from the number of deaths in 11 European countries, it is clear to us that non-pharmaceutical interventions– such as lockdown and school closures, have saved about 3.1 million lives in these countries.

UK’s coronavirus lockdown revealed to have prevented half a million deaths

The researchers found that lockdown, however, has a relevant impact in lowering the R rate below one (Image: Getty)

“Our model suggests that the measures put in place in these countries in March 2020 were successful in controlling the epidemic by driving down the reproduction number and significantly reducing the number of people who would have been infected by the virus SARS-CoV-2.”

The study comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed the authorities made the “right decisions at the right time” when it comes to implementing restriction, despite criticism from scientists.

On March 12, the UK left behind its containment guidelines and revealed that community case-finding and contact-tracing would stop.

The strict lockdown finally officially started on March 23.

Walter Ricciardi, the Italian government’s scientific adviser, said the UK should have entered lockdown ten days earlier.

The Italian World Health Organisation representative said: “When you take the decision late you pay a price in sick people and in deaths.”


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