Lifting lockdown "without new measures in place risks deepening the crisis in our health service, and will leave hospitals and GP practices overwhelmed, unable to provide even the most critical of patient care," the British Medical Association (BMA) said Wednesday in a statement.
Among the measures the BMA wants to see imposed once England exits lockdown are:
- replacing the "rule of six’" which allowed mixing of up to six households with a "two households" rule to reduce social mixing.
- no travel between or across different local lockdown tiers.
The BMA warned that if new measures are not "rapidly" brought in, "the toll on patient care and lives will be severe."
Before the England-wide lockdown ends, the BMA suggests a "widescale reform to the testing and contact tracing programme."
“We must not squander the efforts of the many people who have followed the law, stayed at home, sacrificed freedoms and incurred financial loss in order to contain the virus," the chair of the BMA council, Chaand Nagpaul, said in the statement.
“When the first lockdown ended, there was no coherent plan for keeping Covid-19 at bay, no clear and simple public messaging; this was followed by spiralling infection rates, more businesses failing, new ‘local’ lockdowns, and now we have a death toll at more than 52,000."
Nagpaul said it was "unthinkable that we make the same mistakes again" as England leaves its second lockdown, and warned that the impact would be far worse this time.
"It’s reasonable to conclude, that without these measures, the NHS will not be able to cope with caring for even the most critically ill patients," he added.