Britain is at a coronavirus tipping point, says deputy chief medical officer

Britain is at a coronavirus tipping point, says deputy chief medical officer
Pedestrians and shoppers walk in the high street in west London on October 11, 2020. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 11 October 2020

Britain is at a coronavirus tipping point, says deputy chief medical officer

Britain is at a coronavirus tipping point, says deputy chief medical officer
  • Britain is seeing cases take off since the government began re-opening the economy, schools and universities
  • It has one of the highest death rates from coronavirus in Europe

LONDON: Britain is at a “tipping point” in the coronavirus crisis and the country must act now to stop history repeating itself, the deputy chief medical officer for England said on Sunday, urging people to follow the rules.
With the number of cases rapidly rising particularly in the north of England, ministers are readying a new set of rules to try to tackle the crisis that will include handing more power to local leaders to track the virus’ spread.
Jonathan Van Tam said in an opinion article that the spread of COVID-19 was now moving from younger adult age groups to older people in the worst affected areas, and “just as night follow day, increases in deaths will now follow.”
“In our national fight against COVID-19, we are at a tipping point similar to where we were in March; but we can prevent history repeating itself if we all act now,” Van Tam said.
“We are in the middle of a severe pandemic and the seasons are against us. Basically, we are running into a headwind ... The principles for how we keep transmission low have not changed,” he said, repeating the message for people to wash their hands, wear face coverings and reduce social contact.
Britain, which has one of the highest death rates from coronavirus in Europe, is seeing cases take off since the government began re-opening the economy, schools and universities.
Wanting to balance protecting lives and livelihoods, the government has adopted a strategy of using local lockdowns to try to contain the virus, but its critics say there has been little evidence that this approach is working.


Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department
Updated 16 January 2021

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

WASHINGTON: The lead US negotiator of the Iran nuclear accord and a battle-tested hawk on Russia were named Saturday to top posts at President-elect Joe Biden’s State Department, signaling a return to normal after Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency.
Wendy Sherman, who brokered the Iran accord under Barack Obama and negotiated a nuclear deal with North Korea under Bill Clinton, was named as deputy secretary of state.
Victoria Nuland, a former career diplomat best known for her robust support for Ukrainian protesters in the ouster of a Russian-aligned president, was nominated under secretary for political affairs — the State Department’s third-ranking post in charge of day-to-day US diplomacy.
Biden said that the State Department nominees “have secured some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory.”
“I am confident that they will use their diplomatic experience and skill to restore America’s global and moral leadership. America is back,” Biden said in a statement.
The State Department team will work under secretary of state-designate Antony Blinken, whose confirmation hearing will take place on Tuesday on the eve of Biden’s inauguration.
Blinken said that the State Department team, with women and ethnic minorities in prominent positions, “looks like America.”
“America at its best still has a greater capacity than any other country on earth to mobilize others to meet the challenges of our time,” Blinken said.
The optimism comes amid rising doubts about US leadership in Trump’s waning days after his supporters ransacked the Capitol on January 6 to try to stop the ceremonial certification of Biden’s victory.
Under outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a staunch defender of Trump, the United States has aggressively challenged Iran and China, robustly backed Israel and toyed with improving ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while also imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Sherman’s nomination marks another clear sign that Biden wants to return to the accord under which Iran drastically slashed its nuclear program in exchange for promises of sanctions relief.
Trump exited the deal in 2018 and imposed sweeping sanctions in what many observers saw as an unsuccessful attempt to topple the Shiite clerical regime.