Healthcare leaders Darren Williams and Terry Whalley urge us to do all we can to prevent third lockdown
A leading British healthcare and testing company is urging business leaders and SME owners, including dentists and other healthcare providers across the UK, to work together to adopt a public and economic health protection plan to avoid the UK being plunged into a third lockdown.
Darren Williams (top left) is the newly appointed MD of Salutaris People, which is on the UK Government’s approved list of COVID-19 test providers. He was previously responsible for running some of the pilot mass COVID testing sites in Liverpool during the height of the pandemic last year and has also worked on a number of major testing projects for HM Prison service, DHSC and Public Health England in the Northwest.
He observes: “At a time when almost all COVID restrictions have been lifted and the Government is expected to withdraw its lateral flow mass testing facilities to businesses, supplies of lateral flow tests in the UK actually ran out on Monday (19th July) as the public flooded the Government’s website with requests for tests.
“This is set against a perfect storm of rapidly increasing COVID infections, and, more worryingly perhaps, increasing hospital admissions. Despite the widespread success of the vaccine programme, people who have received both doses of the vaccination, can still catch COVID and pass the infection to others. No vaccine is ever 100% effective.”
Williams continues: “Businesses are only just getting back on their feet and the economy is starting to return to some degree of normality, if there is such a thing. But we face a clear and present danger if the infection rate of the virus continues to surge forward faster, and the NHS becomes overwhelmed again. The early-stage indications in the infection and hospitalisation rates are on a worrying trajectory.
“It is anticipated that businesses will be expected to make their own arrangements for testing employees and staff. If those companies do not have the appropriate testing facilities in place, this will ultimately lead to more infections, staff having to self-isolate and have a major impact on the operational effectiveness of the business.
“We are urging all businesses to continue maintaining robust health and safety protocols. That means maintaining mask wearing and hand sanitisation, but most importantly, rigorous rapid testing of their staff combined with track and trace. Businesses working together with the public and their staff need to continue communicating the importance of this ongoing vigilance.
“While the Prime Minister has publicly stated that he will not put the country back into a lockdown, he may well have no choice if the infection rate spirals out of control. A third lockdown could devastate the economy, decimating businesses and people’s livelihoods.”
Terry Whalley: COVID-19 is not going away
Terry Whalley (top right) is the Strategic Lead for Cheshire & Merseyside COVID-19 Test & Trace and right from the start of the pandemic has been responsible for establishing access to all forms of testing across Cheshire & Merseyside. He advises both private and public sector organisations regarding COVID-19 testing and vaccine programmes.
Terry advises: “Having spent the last 18-months building testing and vaccine services at pace and scale, I’m hugely relieved to see the data seemingly showing that the vaccine deployment is having such a positive impact on illness and mortality. But it has not stopped it.
“I can understand why, after various forms of lockdown, the Government and many people across the country are keen to see things return to normal. As of this week, things will indeed take a big step towards normality. However, my fear is that there can be no going back to the pre-pandemic way of life.
“We need to recognise that we have to define our new ‘normal’ and take steps to ensure we can protect lives and livelihoods. This means for me that we must establish a range of interventions that can be called upon as needed to add layers of protection to prevent an avoidable infection impact on lives and livelihoods.
“While we may not be able – or indeed wish – to sustain blanket restrictions or mandated mass testing and tracing, we should establish the capability to deal with outbreaks with a rapid response that sees reliable testing made available where it’s needed, when it’s needed, and for those who need it or are concerned they may need it.”
He adds: “We must develop an effective way to use positive test results to avoid the onward transmission of the disease. Rapid detection, effective isolation and doing the basics brilliantly (hands, face, space) are effective forms of protection that, combined with high vaccine uptake, can help reduce the risk that COVID continues to pose.
“COVID-19 is not going away, and the signs are it will continue to evolve with new variants. We must design – using effective partnerships between public and private sector – solutions that provide the ability to respond to outbreaks that threaten places of work in every sector, including healthcare, places of education, and the vulnerable among us, as we learn to live in a ‘new normal’ world.”
For more information about Salutaris People, visit: www.salutarispeople.com