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Saturday, October 31, 2020

‘This is not the time to end the lockdown’
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The PM made a public broadcast this evening saying that “this is not the time to end the lockdown”, but did reveal a ‘conditional’ plan to end the lockdown, setting out a 3 phases.

Speaking to the nation this evening, Boris Johnson revealed that he intends to set up a COVID Alert Level which will guide the government on the levels of restrictions in place for England.

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The COVID Alert Level will have 5 levels. Level five will be the highest risk which would see the NHS being over whelmed, and level one the lowest with the virus no longer present in the UK

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Setting out the governments roadmap to lift the lockdown, the PM put forward 3 phases, which are CONDITIONAL on following advice, upholding social distancing and keeping the ‘R’ rate down.

Speaking the PM detailed the following 3 phases:

Step 1

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“And the first step is a change of emphasis that we hope that people will act on this week.

We said that you should work from home if you can, and only go to work if you must. We now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.

“And we want it to be safe for you to get to work. So you should avoid public transport if at all possible – because we must and will maintain social distancing, and capacity will therefore be limited. So work from home if you can, but you should go to work if you can’t work from home.

“And to ensure you are safe at work we have been working to establish new guidance for employers to make workplaces COVID-secure.

And when you do go to work, if possible do so by car or even better by walking or bicycle. But just as with workplaces, public transport operators will also be following COVID-secure standards.

The PM went on to detail the easing of time spent outside the home.

And from this Wednesday, we want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise.

“You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household.

You must obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them.

And so every day, with ever increasing data, we will be monitoring the R and the number of new infections, and the progress we are making, and if we as a nation begin to fulfil the conditions I have set out, then in the next few weeks and months we may be able to go further.

Step 2

“In step two – at the earliest by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

“Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays. And we will shortly be setting out detailed guidance on how to make it work in schools and shops and on transport.

Step 3

“And step three – at the earliest by July – and subject to all these conditions and further scientific advice; if and only if the numbers support it, we will hope to re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing.

“Throughout this period of the next two months we will be driven not by mere hope or economic necessity. We are going to be driven by the science, the data and public health.

“And I must stress again that all of this is conditional, it all depends on a series of big Ifs. It depends on all of us – the entire country – to follow the advice, to observe social distancing, and to keep that R down.”

The PM went on to speak about higher restriction on those entering the country by air travel, saying:

“And to prevent re-infection from abroad, I am serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air.

And it is because of your efforts to get the R down and the number of infections down here, that this measure will now be effective.

“And of course we will be monitoring our progress locally, regionally, and nationally and if there are outbreaks, if there are problems, we will not hesitate to put on the brakes.

We have been through the initial peak – but it is coming down the mountain that is often more dangerous.

We have a route, and we have a plan, and everyone in government has the all-consuming pressure and challenge to save lives, restore livelihoods and gradually restore the freedoms that we need.

But in the end this is a plan that everyone must make work. And when I look at what you have done already. The patience and common sense you have shown. The fortitude of the elderly whose isolation we all want to end as fast as we can. The incredible bravery and hard work of our NHS staff, our care workers.

“The devotion and self-sacrifice of all those in every walk of life who are helping us to beat this disease. Police, bus drivers, train drivers, pharmacists, supermarket workers, road hauliers, bin collectors, cleaners, security guards, postal workers, our teachers and a thousand more. The scientists who are working round the clock to find a vaccine.

When I think of the millions of everyday acts of kindness and thoughtfulness that are being performed across this country. And that have helped to get us through this first phase. I know that we can use this plan to get us through the next.

And if we can’t do it by those dates, and if the alert level won’t allow it, we will simply wait and go on until we have got it right.

Mr Johnson concluded:

“We will come back from this devilish illness. We will come back to health, and robust health.

And though the UK will be changed by this experience, I believe we can be stronger and better than ever before. More resilient, more innovative, more economically dynamic, but also more generous and more sharing.

“But for now we must stay alert, control the virus and save lives.

The NI Executive will meet on Monday to discuss their strategy and plan on moving forward out of lockdown.

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