WHO Spokesperson urges Government to give incentive for people to isolate

1 November 2020, 13:50

By Seán Hickey

This World Health Organisation Spokesperson explained that people generally don't self-isolate unless the state gives them reason to.

Dr Margaret Harris commended the Government for "trying to prevent the overloading of the health system," by introducing a second lockdown in England.

Dr Harris told Tom Swarbrick that "between 30% and 50% depending on the country have an asymptomatic infection," which leads to the individual not needing hospital treatment. However, she went on to note that it is just as crucial that these people self-isolate.

"Is that what you're seeing, that roughly about 10% of people who get this are getting it severely enough to warrant going into hospital" Tom asked. Dr Harris confirmed the idea.

"What's missing in many many countries is getting the tracking and tracing right and the biggest difficulty is tracing and assisting and persuading people to self-isolate if they're a contact."

Read More: ‘No idea’ why Government didn’t listen to SAGE in September, says Tory MP

Along with improving test and trace, the Government must improve conditions for people to self-isolate
Along with improving test and trace, the Government must improve conditions for people to self-isolate. Picture: PA

Dr Harris told Tom that "if it's not taken seriously, and they're not given every support to stay at home, they don't."

When quizzed on what Government should do to influence people to isolate, even if asymptomatic, Dr Harris encouraged Boris Johnson to "really build your capacity but also look at what you're telling people. Are you telling people to do things that are really actionable."

The WHO Spokesperson noted that "quite a few of the Asian counties have actually moved people out of their homes" and while accepting this isn't feasible for the UK, "you have to make it possible" for people to self-isolate.

"You don't want to be rounding people up and bussing them out, but you do want to give them a genuinely doable option."

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