UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the government believes all five tests for the easing of lockdown measures are being met and has announced further adjustments to the lockdown.
Speaking at the Downing Street Coronavirus Briefing on Wednesday, Mr Johnson announced;
- All shops in England will be able to reopen from Monday, provided they meet COVID-secure guidelines
- From this weekend, adults living alone in England and single parents with children under 18 will be able to form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household
- Outdoor attractions where people can remain in their cars such as safari parks and outdoor cinemas will be able to reopen from Monday
- Zoos will be able to reopen outdoor facilities to the public from Monday provided social distancing is maintained
- Places of worship will be able to open for individual worship this weekend
The idea of ‘support bubbles’ is intended to help those facing social isolation during the current Coronavirus lockdown. Members of each bubble can visit and stay at each other’s home without needing to social distance. People cannot be part of more than one ‘support bubble’ and those that are currently shielding cannot be part of any ‘support bubble’.
The Daily Briefing came after Professor Neil Ferguson from London’s Imperial College said the number of UK deaths could have been halved if lockdown measures had been brought in earlier. Speaking to the House of Commons science committee, the Professor said;
“The epidemic was doubling every three to four days before lockdown interventions were introduced.
“So, had we introduced lockdown measures a week earlier, we would have reduced the final toll by at least a half.
“Whilst I think the measures, given what we knew about this virus then in terms of its transmission and its lethality, were warranted – I wouldn’t second-guess them at this point – certainly had we introduced them earlier, we would have seen many fewer deaths.”
Professor Ferguson resigned from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) that advises the government in May after reports that he had broken lockdown rules in order to meet his married lover.
Speaking during the Daily Briefing from Downing Street on Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said there was limited information about the virus at the time in which the lockdown was being implemented. When asked about the timing of lockdown measures being put in place, the Prime Minister said: “all such judgements will need to be examined in the fullness of time”.
During the briefing on Wednesday, it was confirmed that a further 245 people have died after testing positive for the Coronavirus in the UK, taking the number of people that have died in the UK with a positive COVID-19 test to 41,128.
Photo Credit: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street under licence (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)