Coronavirus will not be eliminated and Britons must learn to live with it, Tony Blair warned as he urged the Government to focus on containment measures to see the country through a second wave.
The former prime minister said infrastructure to stop the spread of the virus was critical as another national lockdown would not be possible, suggesting that people instead need to learn to live safely with the virus.
In an exclusive interview with the PA news agency, Mr Blair described the crisis as “the biggest challenge logistically and practically” a government has ever faced, but criticised ministers for not yet putting in place an “infrastructure of containment”.
He said: “The reality is that we’re going to be living with Covid-19 – we’re not really going to be able to eliminate it.
“And when you look at what has been happening in other countries, as lockdown has been eased, then more and more problems have appeared and many countries, having gone into lockdown then easing it, are finding spikes in the disease.
“You can’t be sure of this but there’s at least a 50/50 chance that you have a resurgence of the disease in the autumn and that’s why it is absolutely essential now to prepare for that.
“And to put in place every single last bit of containment infrastructure that you possibly can to make sure that if that happens you are able to control the disease, because you’re not going to be able to go back into the lockdown that we endured in March, April and May.”
What isn’t forgivable going forward is not to build this containment infrastructure on the basis that you are at significant risk of further spikes of the disease and possibly a resurgence in the autumn. Tony Blair
A new report by his think tank, the Tony Blair Institute, calls for public confidence to be rebuilt “on the knowledge that every possible step has been taken to mitigate risk” – requiring containment measures in the absence of a “game changer” vaccine or treatment.
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In this day and age, understanding bacteria and viruses and developing vaccines are national security issues. In my view sizable part of every country’s defense budget should be spent in these pursuits rather than making tanks and other weapons.
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