Boris Johnson has defended easing lockdown restrictions in England before the country’s coronavirus alert level had been reduced for the past few weeks. But the Prime Minister has now begun detailing a new reality for the UK after the threat level was lowered. He hinted at more localised reponses to COVID-19 as opposed to the nationwide lockdown.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Johnson said: “I think that’s what the public also want to see.
“They want to see us working with the reality.
“We’re moving now from a world in which we have to impose a huge one size fits all national lockdown program to one in which we’re able to do more localised responses.
“The JBC announced the change in the alert level is working with our test and trace operation to do local whack a mole.”
Boris Johnson has hinted at a change in the UK’s lockdown measures
Boris Johnson told broadcasters to ‘watch this space’
He went on to say “watch this space” amid debates over whether social distancing rules should be relaxed.
Mr Johnson added: “We will be putting in further changes as the science allows.”
The Prime Minister also insisted it is “absolutely” his intention that children of all ages should be able to return to school by the autumn on a five-day-a-week basis.
He told broadcasters during a visit to a Hertfordshire school: “Let me be very clear – I want a world in which, as far as possible, provided we can make classrooms safe and I think we can, I want every child, every pupil, every student, back in September.
Boris Johnson insisted he wants to reopen schools when it’s safe
“I’m sure we can get it done.”
He added: “We have to start thinking of a world in which we are less apprehensive about this disease.
“Yes it has been a horrible shock for the country and for the world, and I think the British people have worked incredibly hard to drive it down.
“But we are starting to make some real progress with test and trace, with treatments for the disease, and I hope, as we go forward into the autumn, people will be much, much more confident.”
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It comes as Government guidance states that a reduction of the alert level three will mean the “gradual relaxing of restrictions and social distancing measures”.
Representatives from industries, such as the hospitality sector, may hope it could also pave the way for the two-metre rule to be relaxed which is key for many pubs, restaurants and cafes to reopen.
Prof Matt Keeling, of Warwick University, believes the downgrade is currently “justified” but cautions against the easing of social distancing.
He said: “The move to level three is not a time for complacency, there is still the prospect of a second wave if controls are relaxed too quickly and the reproductive number (R) rises above one.
“We are likely to be entering a new phase of this outbreak, where nationally and regionally cases will continue to decline, but locally there will be isolated clusters of cases that need to be contained.”