Covid latest: Study finds ‘most effective way’ to stop spread of virus as cases rise in UK
Controlling Covid is a 'multi-layered operation' says Dr Pankhania
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Vaccination, while an important tool has proven unable to contain the virus by itself. Some people are unable to get the vaccine for medical reasons. Breakthrough cases are occurring rarely, with a shorter contagious period and milder symptoms. Additionally there is an ongoing risk a strain will develop that will circumvent the resistance developed by vaccination.
The motto of “hands, face, space” continues to hold true as the most effective way of combating the pandemic.
A systemic review of the different scientific publications on COVID-19 have revealed the most effective methods for containing case numbers.
The most effective method identified has been mask wearing, alongside handwashing and physical distancing.
Other measures the study examined included quarantine and isolation procedures, and the closing of schools.
Mask wearing was found to reduce new cases by 53 percent, across multiple studies.
The practice is important to follow in any situation where you are likely to be close to other people, and especially where air circulation is limited.
Masks are not currently compulsory in England, whereas Scotland and Wales still require them in shops and on public transport.
The review concluded by noting that public health efforts to implement these measures should account for community specific needs.
Effective hand hygiene is noted by the World Health Organisation as a ‘key measure’ for preventing the spread of COVID-19, and to allow safe vaccination.
Investments in hand washing stations are believed to return 16 times the cost to implement them.
This includes the impact on non-Covid illnesses spread by physical contact, with germs from the hands transferred to the eyes, nose and mouth as well as contaminating food and drink.
The Centre for Disease Control lists handwashing as one of the most important factors in combating antibiotic resistance.
Cases have been rising across Europe, with Austria imposing a full national lockdown to begin on Monday.
Other EU members are resorting to similar restrictions, enforcing social distancing by keeping their populations at home.
Most involve some combination or mandatory vaccination and home working arrangements.
Covid passes are also being introduced in some locations containing proof of vaccination and recent testing.
The winter also poses a threat to hospital capacity due to the seasonal increase in flu cases.
Flu transmission is also reduced by adherence to social distancing, handwashing and mask wearing.
Flu vaccines can be accessed freely by health staff, the elderly and other at-risk groups.
These can be arranged by GPs, schools, and pharmacies.
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