“Staying home, saving lives, protecting the NHS” has been the official slogan of the British Government since the beginning of coronavirus management, but yesterday it was changed to another: “Be alert, control the virus, save lives.” The change in message marks the start of the de-escalation, which was announced on television by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which however left many gaps and reignited criticism.
The confinement of the population in the United Kingdom, which is seven weeks old today, has never been as strict as that of Spain, since from the beginning it is allowed to go out for sports for an hour a day, and the premier announced yesterday a slight relaxation of the measures, whose main objective is to start the economy without risking the health of the population and minimizing the risk of a second wave of the virus. However, both the road map and the new slogan have already generated the first negative reactions and Nicola Sturgeon, Arlene Foster and Mark Drakeford, leaders of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales respectively, announced that they will distance themselves from London. “For Scotland right now, given the fragility of progress we’ve made, given the critical point we are in, it would be catastrophic to abandon the message of staying home,” Sturgeon said. Shadow Labor Minister for Health, Jonathan Ashworth, called for “absolute clarity on Johnson’s part” and noted that “people are a little puzzled wondering what it means to stay alert? What does the government mean by that? ” Along the same lines, Dave Ward, secretary general of the Communications Union, stated that “the messages of this Government throughout this crisis have been a total joke, but its new slogan takes it to a new level” and he asked, “Stay alert? It is a deadly virus, not a zebra crossing. ”
The Executive’s plan released by Johnson includes a five-tier risk assessment system (green or # 1 which means the virus is no longer in the nation, to red or # 5 which means the NHS, the national system health, is overwhelmed) that will serve to manage the pace of de-escalation. At this time, he explained, he is moving from level 4 to 3 and clarified the three phases that make up his plan, which is, yes, “conditional”. “We have the R factor (the rate of contagions caused by an affected person) below 1, between 0.5 and 0.9,” said the premier, but the rest of the five conditions to lift the blockade have not been fully met, for which “is not the time to end the confinement,” he said.
In this first phase, he urged those who cannot do their work from home to work as long as they follow the rules of social distancing and if possible “without using public transport, preferably on foot or by bicycle.” In addition, as of Wednesday the outdoor trips can be unlimited but only with residents in the same house, as long as the safety distance is respected, although he warned that the fines for those who fail to comply will be higher. In phase 2, which could start in June, the classrooms would be opened for some elementary cycles and the stores; and in July 3, some catering services could start operating. But “if there are problems we will put on the brakes,” he said, adding that “soon” a quarantine will be imposed on those who enter the country by air.
“We can be stronger and better than ever,” said an optimistic Johnson, a phrase that contrasts with the 31,855 deaths confirmed until yesterday and with the prognosis of several scientists that if the confinement is relaxed too soon, at the end of the year they could have died. about a hundred thousand people.
The premier, who will present the full plan in parliament today, was criticized by Labor leader Keir Starmer: “What the country wanted tonight was clarity and consensus, and I’m afraid we don’t have any,” he said. “This statement raises as many questions as it answers, and we see the potential for England, Scotland and Wales to move in different directions,” which he called “a huge gap.” .