The Wokingham Paper

Boris Johnson announces new Covid-19 alert system to inform lockdown easing

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson Picture: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

AN ALERT system run by a biosecurity centre will lead the Prime Minister’s decisions to ease lockdown in coming months.

At 7pm this evening, Boris Johnson announced that the easing of lockdown measures would be lead by science, stating that the infection rate — referred to as R — must remain below 1.

And the new alert system will be ranked from one to five. One meaning that Covid-19 is no longer present in the country and five that it is at the most critical point. He said the country is currently at number four.

“The lower the level, the fewer the measures, the higher the level, the tougher and stricter we will have to be,” explained Boris Johnson. “Thanks to your sacrifice, we’re now in a position to begin to move in steps to level three.

“And as we go, everyone will have a role to play in keeping the order by staying alert and following the rules and to keep pushing the number of infections done.”

The Prime Minister also announced that people who cannot work from home — such as construction and manufacturing workers — should be actively encouraged to go to work.

But this should be done avoiding public transport where possible, in order to maintain social distancing.

“We are establishing new guidance for employers to make workplaces Covid secure,” said Mr Johnson.

He also said that from Wednesday, May 13, exercise will be unlimited but must still be restricted to members of your household.

“We want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of an outdoor exercise, you can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations. You can even play sports only with members of your own house,” said Mr Johnson.

But he added that fines will be increased for people breaking these new rules.

He explained that the new alert system would focus on five priorities; to protect the NHS, keep a sustained fall in the death rate, sustain the fall in the rate of infections, resolve challenges of getting PPE to those who need it, and that it would be adjusted to not risk a second wave of the virus.

The Prime Minister also said that from Monday, June 1, they could potentially work to reopen some shops and primary schools.

He said this would begin with reception, year one and year 6 pupils. But the decision would only be made nearer the time, and is conditional on the infection rate.

“Our ambition is that students facing exams next year will have at least some time with their teachers before the holidays,” he said. “And we will shortly be sending out detailed guidance on how to make it work in schools and shops around transport.”

And from Wednesday, July 1, the country could see the phased re-opening of the hospitality industry. This, he said, would only be done if the infection rate was significantly reduced, and social distancing measures were in place.

“We will be monitoring the progress.” he added. “And if there are outbreaks and problems we will not hesitate to put on the breaks.”

“Throughout this period of the next two months, we will be driven not by mere hope, or economic necessity. We’re 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 and to observe social distancing.”

Mr Johnson added that the UK would now introduce a 14-day quarantine for all visitors from overseas entering the country.

The Prime Minister ended his speech by asking the public to stay alert, control the virus,and save lives. This is the new slogan launched by the government and refers to the new alert system in place.

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