Coronavirus herd immunity is a ‘big risk for Britain but it may pay off’

The UK government's approach towards dealing with the coronavirus outbreak is "potentially very effective yet risky", according to a professor.

Compared to other countries, Professor Ian Donald says the UK's approach is more refined but it is also more risky.

He said the approach is based on certain assumptions which need to be correct for the model to work, according to Mirror Online .

On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK's response to the pandemic would move from contain to delay.

The Government is aiming to help create "herd immunity" towards the bug rather than suppressing it completely, according to the UK's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

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Professor Donald, whose Twitter profile says he's from the University of Liverpool, says a UK assumption is that a high number of the UK population will inevitably get infected so instead of stopping it, the government is managing it.

He tweeted: "The UK wants infection BUT of particular categories of people. The aim of the UK is to have as many lower risk people infected as possible. Immune people cannot infect others; the more there are the lower the risk of infection.

"That's herd immunity. Based on this idea, at the moment the govt wants people to get infected, up until hospitals begin to reach capacity. At that they want to reduce, but not stop infection rate. Ideally they balance it so the numbers entering hospital = the number leaving.

"That balance is the big risk."

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He said the risk is being able to accurately manage infection flow relative to health case resources.

And to do this he says, the infection rate data needs to be right, measures have to work at the right time and to the suitable degree.

The UK's approach to developing "herd immunity" against Covid-19 has been called into question by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Spokeswoman Margaret Harris said not enough is known about the science of the coronavirus, and that while "theories" can be talked about, the current situation requires "action".

Boris Johnson had faced criticism for not taking such actions, despite similar steps being taken by other European countries as the pandemic worsens.

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