It was good to see Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a roadmap for how we tentatively start to get things moving again. Coming out of lockdown measures is of course incredibly complicated. There is simply no way that a switch can be flicked, and everything return to how it was, if we are to ensure that new Coronavirus infections are kept low, with the R rate kept below 1.
Everything is being driven by the science and not by politics, including human behavioural science as well as health, with the R rate being crucial for the timings of relaxation measures. These timings won’t suit everyone as some want the return to normality to be faster, while others want things to move more slowly.
Our NHS has been performing brilliantly, coping well in very challenging circumstances. We need to continue to relieve the pressure on them and not risk a second spike. The priority is to protect the public and save lives, meaning we cannot move forward unless we satisfy the five tests. These are protecting our NHS, seeing sustained falls in the death rate, having a sustained and considerable fall in the rate of infection, ensuring enough PPE for the people who need it, and keeping the R rate below 1.
It is very easy for opposition politicians to criticise when the government has such a complicated task. I’ve observed cherry-picking from various different countries to try and bash our own, with the whole picture of what is happening in any quoted given country not given. The quote below from Boris’ speech on Sunday evening is spot-on, it depends on all of us.
“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.”
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
13th May 2020