What does Boris' statement mean?

Josh Brunning · 20:57 Sunday, 10 May 2020

Before I start, you can read the full transcript for yourself by clicking here or you can watch it below.

The Reduction of Lockdown

The Government’s “Five Tests” for reducing lockdown

Stage 1

The first stage of the Prime Minister’s “conditional plan” is encouraging certain people back to work. He said that “anyone who can’t work from home … should be actively encouraged to go to work.” So we should therefor be expecting contruction sites and manufacturers to start returning to normal - with social distancing still in place. He also advised against using public transport, saying to walk, bike or drive if possible. This is to allow those who have to use public transport to do so while social distancing.

The other major change in stage one is the removal of the “one form of excercise a day” rule. From Wednesday (12 May), the governement “want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise.” Interestingly, the Prime Minister also seems to be encouraging going elsewhere for this excersise saying “you can drive to other destinations.” He also anounced that the fines for breaking the restrictions would be increased.

Stage 2

The second stage will not begin until 1 June at the earliest. It will involve the reopening of shops and the staged return of primary schools - “beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.” The “ambition” is that students in Year 10 and Year 12 - who are facing exams next year - will return to school before the Summer Holidays start on 18 July.

There was no mention of students in Years 7, 8 or 9 (Years 11 & 13 will already be on study leave).

Stage 3

Beginning by July at the earliest, the government hope to reopen “some of the hospitality industry and other public places”

The Govenment’s slide showing the three stages of reducing lockdown

What about the Covid Alert Level?

Run by a “new Joint Biosecurity Centre” the Covid Alert Level (CAL) will be a scale ranging from 1 - where COVID-19 is no longer believed to be in the UK - to 5 - where there is a “material risk of overwhelming the NHS.”

It will be based on the R (the rate of infection) and the number of cases the UK has. The Prime Minister stated that we are currently at Level Four and are beginning to move towards Level 3. One sentence however stuck out to me:

Because our new system [of testing] will be able in time to detect local flare-ups – in your area – as well as giving us a national picture.

Boris Johnson - 10 May 2020

This suggests to me that there may in the future be local variation in the CAL with potentially slight variations in the restrictions in different areas.

Other Things Mentioned

The Prime Minister said that plans are being put into place to quarantine people arriving in the UK “by air.” No mention however of the Eurostar, Eurotunnel or cross-channel ferries.

The governement is changing its primary message from “Stay Home” to “Stay Alert”

I’m sure the governement wants the change from red to green to indicate a “Return to normal.” But a nerdy detail for you: if you look at the Health & Safety Regulations - green is meant to indicate “No danger” as well (as seen in the table below) and there is obviously still a danger from COVID-19. So it would probably have been better to have orange chevrons rather than green.

Source: Safety signs and signals. The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. Guidance on Regulations L64 (link)

In Sumary

There are only two things that are chaning iminentley: the governement’s primary message and the rules around going outside.

From Wednesday, you’ll be able to go outside for excersise multiple times and drive somewhere else to do it. Apart from that, the lockdown will probably not change much more before June.

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