Deputy chief medical officer warns Boris’ next lockdown steps are ‘extremely painstaking’

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Boris Johnson is expected to address the nation on Sunday regarding the Government’s coronavirus exit-strategy plan. During the Saturday coronavirus briefing, deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, warned the Government must be cautious in how they proceed to relax lockdown measures. He insisted the next steps would be gradual and painstaking.

While answering a question on social distancing at schools Mr Van-Tam insisted it would be best to wait for the Prime Minister’s address before making assumptions about the difficulties of coronavirus going forward.

Mr Van-Tam said: “Whatever Boris Johnson says we are going to do next, it will be extremely cautious, extremely careful and extremely painstaking.”

“It has to take into account the kind of factors that have been mentioned.

“The advice and the policies from Boris Johnson will do that but it is caution all the way really.”

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Deputy Chief Medical Officer warns Boris’ next lockdown steps are ‘extremely painstaking’ (Image: BBC)

Travel Secretary Grant Shapps also emphasised the actions being taken by the Government would be extremely cautious.

He said: “We have seen in other countries second, not quite spikes, but what has come along when social distancing has been relaxed are further problems.

“So we will wait and see.”

During the briefing, Mr Shapps also commended the British people for following the current guidelines and helping fight the coronavirus.

He said that although many difficulties had been overcome, coming out of lockdown would not be done quickly.

Mr Shapps outlined that the Government would be preparing its public travel services for the surge in people as the UK relaxes lockdown measures.

He said: “Today I am setting out an ambitious programme to help prepare our transport network for the critical role it will play as we emerge from this crisis.

“Importantly it is true to say that moving beyond COVID-19 will be a gradual process and not a single leap to freedom.

“So when we do emerge, the world will seem quite different at least for some time.

“The need to maintain social distancing means that our public transport system can not go back to where it left off.

“So here is a very stark fact, even with public transport reverting to a full service, once you take into account the two-metre social distancing rule, there would only be effective capacity for one in 10 passengers in many parts of our network.

“This is just a 10th of the old capacity.”


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