It has been announced that Wales will enter a second national lockdown from Friday 23rd October in order to control the spread of COVID-19.
Dr Julian Tang, Honorary Associate Professor in Respiratory Sciences and Clinical Virologist, University of Leicester, said:
“The idea of a ‘fire-break’ or ‘circuit-break’ is like a mini-lockdown in that local area. In fact, with the COVID-19 pandemic, a ‘firebreak’ is a more accurate term because these measures do not completely stop the virus from spreading but just slows it down, like real firebreaks used to slowdown forest fires and stop them from spreading. If you break an electrical circuit, you stop the flow of electricity completely.
We’ve seen the impact of national lockdowns in multiple countries –
– so the benefits can be reasonably extended to local lockdowns on a smaller scale, if everyone follows the rules and there are few if any ‘imported’ cases of COVID-19 into the locked down population/area.
“The softer measures: rule of 6, curfews, maintaining social distancing and universal masking are still important when making those essential trips where mixing with strangers is unavoidable, e.g. in supermarkets or public transport, and these still need to be followed if the firebreak is going to work better.
“In terms of evidence, this has been seen in the first wave of national lockdowns, but it will be difficult to see any immediate impact in the local population till several weeks later. This is because you need to give the current generation of infected people in the population time to develop disease and recover – without them being able to have any contact with anyone else – before you start to see the drop in numbers of infected cases.
“For these measures (both soft and hard) to work, as many people as possible need to follow them as closely as possible – and have some faith in them. Otherwise, if we are all constantly doubting their effectiveness and then only follow them to a variable extent, they will be less effective, so we see no benefit and follow them even less – until they have no impact at all – and the virus will continue spreading.”
All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink: