Lockdown Could Be Eased In ‘weeks to come’ Says UK Minister
UK Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick hinted at a lockdown exit plan – as the country aims to put an end to the economic stagnation by June.
He noted that at the moment there was “excess capacity” in intensive care units “across the country”, which had to be kept in place in order to avoid overwhelming the hospitals.
“If we can do that then we can look in the weeks to come to begin to very carefully… lift some of those measures.
“But an exit strategy that’s sustainable will also have to be accompanied by much greater testing and tracing than we are able to do today.”
Dominic Raab, Britain’s foreign secretary, also assured the public that steps are being taken in the right direction during a press briefing on Monday, but noted that citizens must still follow social distancing guidelines.
“That work, so that we can properly assess the measures that have been introduced, is in place but also that we do not want to confuse the message right now because we are not past the peak,
“To get past the peak, we must have people respecting those guidelines otherwise we undo all the good work that so many people have achieved and contributed to through their forbearance, particularly as the weather gets a bit warmer.”
In order to avoid further financial damage to businesses, Senior Tories have suggested that there should be a “staged opening” of shops, schools, and restaurants should the risk decrease.
Civil servants were reportedly requested to ready conditions for a stage easing. However, the strategy may vary by region, industrial sectors or by expanding the key workers’ register.
On Monday, Robert Halfon, chairman of the Education Select Committee, said that he expects phased re-openings of schools and restaurants when the crisis starts to ease down.
The Tory MP said:
“We are walking hand-grenades potentially at the moment in the way that we can spread this disease.
“And that is what lies I think behind the Government’s decision (to impose a lockdown). I suspect that when things get better, we will be allowed out in stages.
“Vulnerable citizens will probably be told to stay at home and there will be staged openings of schools and restaurants and businesses… but the only thing we can do is follow the advice of the chief medical officer (Chris Whitty) and chief science officer (Sir Patrick Vallance),”
Ex Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell had the following to say:
“I’m hoping that there will be work going on already to consider how we exit from this lockdown and that requires groups from a number of different disciplines.
“We need the medics of course, epidemiologists, but we need social scientists – when you hear about people talking about how soon will we get to the peak, and they say, ‘well we don’t know because it’s all dependent on how people behave’, absolutely – so we need behavioural scientists in there.”
This comes as PM Boris Johnson was brought to St Thomas’ Hospital for intensive care after his coronavirus symptoms worsened dramatically.
Mr. Jenrick noted that Johnson remains “very much in charge” of the Government despite his current health issues.
He added that hospitalization was a “precautionary step” and that the Prime Minister was still corresponding with officials and ministers.
Secretary Jenrick noted that he expected Johnson to be back in Downing Street “shortly”.
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Source: Daily Mail