As the number of coronavirus cases in the UK continues to spike and the country is put under lockdown to curb the spread, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that he is “terrified” by the damage caused to the economy while major businesses are shut. As of April 6, UK has reported at least 47,806 cases of COVID-19 infection with 4,934 fatalities. Even UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalised recently after being in isolation due to coronavirus infection for nearly ten days. However, Blair has voiced his concern about the impact on the economy due to the lockdown amid a health crisis.
During an interview with a BBC radio on April 6, the former UK PM said that he is concerned about the economic damage on the country “every week this lockdown continues”. Blair also added that if the lockdown goes on for a longer period of time, it will not only hinder the economy but also the government’s ability to operate its health-care system effectively. According to him, the only way to free the country from a lockdown is to ramp up the level of testing of COVID-19 in the UK.
During the same interview, the former Tory member said that if he were the leader of Britain during a pandemic like a coronavirus outbreak, he would put a senior manager in charge of testing only and nothing else. Blair also added that the minister would have been supported by efficient technology and businesses. According to UK PM, “mass testing, at scale, with speed” is the only way the country can get out of the tolling lockdown.
After originating from China’s “wet markets”, the coronavirus has now claimed over 69,480 lives worldwide as of April 6. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 208 countries and has infected at least 1,274,346 people. Out of the total infections, 264,838 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries and the economy is struggling.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared the coronavirus as a global pandemic on March 11 while the virus has now spread to all continents except Antarctica, resulting in thousands of deaths worldwide. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom further even urged all nations to get very serious over the issue and take all necessary measures to contain the virus from spreading at this rate. Tedros said, that the word 'Pandemic' cannot be used lightly or carelessly due to its strong connotation.