The reason the UK has held off stricter “social distancing” measures appears to be rooted in the government’s prediction that the outbreak may not peak until 14 weeks from now — and that people will not be willing to drastically alter their ways of life and stick to the new rules for over three months, so there’s little point imposing more restrictions just yet.
The latest recommendation for Britons is to self-isolate for seven days if they begin to experience a persistent cough or high temperature, and to continue with rigorous hygiene like frequently washing their hands and disinfecting surfaces.
Government ministers claim their decisions are being led purely by science. That science, they say, currently suggests that it would be beneficial for the country to build up some sort of herd immunity to the novel coronavirus strain in the long run. In short, authorities do want some Britons to get the bug, especially since for many, its symptoms will not be particularly debilitating.
The approach has divided opinion in the medical community. Some experts have accused Johnson of failing to grasp the severity of the situation, while others have praised the government for refusing to bow to continent-wide pressure to clamp down on the public’s movements.