UK sets out lockdown exit plan
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put forward a plan to exit the lockdown, imposed to cutrail the spread of covid-19, and gradually move towards restoring normality.
With the second-highest death toll worldwide, Johnson is keen to avoid further criticism of his handling of the outbreak.
“Our plan must countenance a situation where we are in this, together, for the long haul, even while doing all we can to avoid that outcome,” Johnson stated in a foreward to the document titled “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy”.
The plan will gradually allow some businesses to resume operations as well as guidance for people regarding avoidance of public transport and wearing masks in public.
Johnson has modified the message to ‘Stay Alert’ rather than ‘Stay at Home’, a move that was rejected by devolved powers in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The plan was widely criticised for being confusing and contradictory. Employers have expressed concerns over a lack of clarity regarding which businesses are supposed to reopen and who should go back to work.
The government has also been criticised for its contradictory message about wearing masks. After initially refusing to advise the public to wear masks it has now stated that people should wear something to cover their faces with especially in enclosed spaces wear social distancing cannot be maintained.
Most of the modifications apply to England only. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has only modified restrictions on exercise.
The coronavirus death toll rose by 210 in the UK over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 32,065. The UK recently overtook Italy as the country with the highest death toll in Europe and the second highest worldwide after the United States.