U.K. Medical Workers Get Free Bicycle Rental From Local Bike Maker

Date: 2020-04-10 15:45:40

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British bike maker Brompton Bicycle is lending out their wheels to staff of the National Health Service for free. And they are urging other U.K. businesses to find ways to help.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab — standing in for PM Boris Johnson — signaled Britain needs to maintain stringent curbs on the movement of people to tackle the pandemic, which has claimed the lives of almost 8,000 Britons. The government’s emergency committee will review the restrictions next week.

While Johnson’s medical and scientific advisers warned the lockdown may last for weeks or even months, pressure is building on ministers to reveal their plan for easing restrictions once the U.K. is judged to be past the peak of the outbreak.

The death toll from the virus rose by a further 881 to bring the total to 7,978 in the latest data published Thursday. Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, warned he expects the number of deaths to increase for “a few weeks” yet.

When the U.K. imposed sweeping restrictions on movement on March 23, Johnson said the measures would be reviewed in three weeks — a deadline that falls on Monday. The lockdown has brought the economy to a near halt and triggered a surge in the number of people claiming welfare payments for the first time.

But it will be “several more weeks” before scientists will be able to draw conclusions about the rate of decline in cases and recommend any lifting of measures, Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist who advises the government, told BBC Radio 4 on Friday. That’s despite “preliminary evidence” the restrictions are working better than anticipated, he said.

The government and its scientific advisers are working on an exit strategy as a top priority, according to Ferguson, and will likely consider age and geography in a staggered lifting of restrictions. He also called for widespread testing to identify cases and track transmissions.

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