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UK ‘near bottom of world league’ in fighting Covid-19

Battle plan: Health secretary Matt Hancock PICTURE: GETTY

BRITAIN is close to the bottom of a global league in tackling coronavirus.

The UK is 155th out of 179 nations in the study by Oxford university’s Blavatnik School of Government.

Two weeks ago, Britain was fourth from the bottom.

Countries are awarded up to ten points on a daily tracker for their readiness to come out of lockdown.

They must meet World Health Organization (WHO) targets, such as controlling the infection, reducing deaths and an effective track-and-trace system.

At the start of the month the UK was rated ‘three’. But signs that contact and trace was starting to work and the 14-day quarantine for travellers flying to the UK edged the country up to ‘four’ last week.

Study leader Prof Thomas Hale said: ‘We need to have the number of deaths much lower than we have now, into single figures consistently.

‘And we need to drive down the number of new cases a day to 50 — or even less. And keep the numbers down. Things are moving in the right direction but we need to get the number of new cases diagnosed down for test, track and isolate to work.’

New Zealand tops the table while Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia have scored eight or nine.

Australia and New Zealand rapidly closed their borders and introduced contact tracing to isolate infections.

Prof Hale said: ‘Our big mistake was to start tracing and contacting early on and then abandon it.

‘Recovering from that means it will take us longer.’

Labour’s health spokesman Justin Madders said it had ‘been asking for weeks’ for greater transparency on the evidence that shows relaxing the lockdown is safe and reports like this ‘raise questions about many aspects of the government’s approach’.

GERMANY’S coronavirus reproduction rate jumped to 2.88 yesterday, up from 1.06 on Friday, the Robert Koch Institute said. It puts infections above the level needed for containment. An ‘R’ rate of 2.88 means if 100 people have Covid-19, 288 more get it.