Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Boris Johnson’s way out of the corona lockdown in the UK


AEven if the vaccination program exceeds all expectations and the most important risk groups – including almost all residents over 70 years of age – are already immunized, the British can only hope for a slow normalization of everyday life after Easter. Before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his “Lockdown Roadmap” in the late afternoon, there were indications that the government’s motto was emphasized by the “cautious but irreversible” easing of measures in the first word.

It was confirmed in the morning that all schools will reopen on March 8th. (Kindergartens were not closed while the third lockdown was in progress.) Millions of parents are waiting, wringing their hands; Getting children back to school has always been called a “priority” by Prime Minister Johnson.

Relaxation in old people’s homes

The trade unions and parts of the Labor Party only partially agree with the type of opening; they demand early vaccination for teachers. In Scotland and Wales there is a “phased” approach; however, at least the elementary schools there were allowed to reopen this month. Johnson can only decide for the territory of England on health issues.

According to the government plans, the residents of the nursing home (who have been vaccinated for weeks) can breathe a sigh of relief when they are allowed to receive visitors again on March 8 – but only from one person. From this date, citizens should also be allowed to meet a member outside of their own household for a conversation in the fresh air and sit on a park bench, for example. So far, only joint running or fast walking is permitted.

From March 29th, up to six people will be allowed to see each other in the fresh air, even in a private garden. If only two households are involved in such a meeting, there can be more than six people. At the same time, organized outdoor sports should be allowed again and golf and tennis courts, for example, should be allowed to open.

The ban on leaving the narrower radius of one’s own house could also be overridden on this day. The recommendation to work from home if possible could also be collected. One-day trips to other locations would be possible, but no overnight stays away.

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The cities will probably only be filled with life again in the course of April, when “non-essential” shops open and pubs and restaurants are allowed to set up tables, provided they have outside space. The cabinet had considered whether this should be combined with a ban on serving alcohol; this was evidently refrained from, even after derisive comments in the newspapers.

It should then take until May before the catering trade can again serve inside – under the conditions that have become usual. Until then, the British will have to be patient to have their hair cut professionally. Recreational trips with overnight stays may not be allowed again until June. These should initially be limited to Germany. It is still unclear when the entry and exit regulations will be changed with the recently tightened quarantine regulations.

All these dates are provisional because the effects on the infection process should be checked after each opening step. Four so-called tests must be passed before any further loosening can be initiated. On the one hand, the vaccination campaign must continue to run according to plan; on the other hand, it must be ensured that the vaccines sufficiently reduce Covid-related deaths and hospital treatments. However, it must also be guaranteed that new infections do not cause clinical treatments to skyrocket again and that new variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of loosening measures.

The first two tests should be passed permanently. Organizationally, the vaccination campaign is going more smoothly than expected and, if there are no supply bottlenecks, it will probably accelerate. The effectiveness of the vaccines is also beyond question, according to a study by the Scottish Health Service published on Monday. According to this, infections to be treated clinically decreased by 94 percent in Biontech vaccinated people and by 85 percent in Astra-Zeneca vaccinated people. Similar results were expected for England on Monday.

The last two tests, on the other hand, depend on the developments of the future, which creates resentment, especially in Johnson’s group. Mark Harper MP, who leads the lockdown skeptics on the Conservative benches, said Monday: “Maintaining restrictions because a new variant may emerge is a recipe for never opening again.”



#Boris #Johnsons #corona #lockdown

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