St Andrews university academic says coronavirus outbreak must act as a 'wake-up call' to handle future pandemics better

Professor Sir Ian Boyd (picture from University of St Andrews)

An academic from the University of St Andrews says the current coronavirus outbreak must act as a 'wake-up' call for the UK to better deal with any future crisis.

Professor Sir Ian Boyd says despite practice runs for an influenza pandemic being run by the UK Government before, actions to cope with such a scenario weren't taken.

Writing in the journal Nature, he says nobody likes the idea of living 'under a fortress mentality'.

The former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says preventative action needs to be taken earlier to limit the impact of such outbreaks in the future.

He is calling for change to happen now, while the public understand why the current lockdown measures are essential.

Professor Sir Ian Boyd said: "The middle of a pandemic, when we are all struggling to cope, may not be the best time to get people’s attention.

"But we need to wake up to our vulnerabilities.

"There are a lot of rare events which could happen and bring similar problems to those we are experiencing now.

"Trends including the rise of global population and climate change are making us more vulnerable and this means that these types of events are likely to become more frequent in future.

"In normal times, it is difficult for politicians to act to bolster our resilience because events like COVID-19 seem too distant to most people to be a concern.

"However, building resilience when times are good to enable us to be stronger when times are bad is going to have to be an important part of future planning from the international community, to national governments and even down to individual households."

In a Twitter video yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is currently isolating as he has coronavirus, vowed the UK will defeat COVID-19.

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