Full width home advertisement

Post Page Advertisement [Top]

'Stay Safe, Save Lives' replaces 'Stay Home' slogan as Boris Johnson eases lockdown from Monday with exercise limit lifted and picnics and rural trips allowed in new five-step roadmap

'Stay Safe, Save Lives' replaces 'Stay Home' slogan as Boris Johnson eases lockdown from Monday with exercise limit lifted and picnics and rural trips allowed in new five-step roadmap
  • The Prime Minister confirmed Britain's touch six-week coronavirus lockdown will start to be eased on Monday
  • He will first renew lockdown later day before setting out exit plan in an address to the nation on Sunday   
  • The easing of measures is expected to follow a five-step roadmap with lockdown lifted entirely in the Autumn 
  • Monday is expected see garden centres reopen and workers return to businesses that have remained open 
  • However, plans may change if the UK is hit with a deadly second wave of the virus after restrictions are eased 
  • UK official death toll now over 30,000 - highest in Europe - but trends suggest that number could be higher
Boris Johnson is preparing to begin loosening draconian lockdown rules on Monday with a five-step plan to save the economy - as the government drops its 'Stay at Home' message.
The shape of the 'new reality' Britons face is starting to emerge, with curbs on outdoor activities set to be eased and businesses encouraged to find ways to get back up and running amid social distancing rules. 
The lockdown measures are formally due to be extended this evening, after the Cabinet and Cobra meets to consider the desperate crisis gripping the nation. 
But the 'exit strategy' will not be announced until Sunday, when Mr Johnson will address the public to lay out the 'easements' to the misery of combating the deadly disease.
The gravity of the situation the UK faces was underlined today as the Bank of England warned GDP will plunge nearly 30 per cent over the first half of this year, and unemployment could hit 9 per cent.
The overall 14 per cent slump estimated for 2020 would wipe around £300billion off output and represent the worst recession for more than 300 years. Extraordinarily, former chancellor Alistair Darling warned this morning that the Bank might have been too optimistic. 
The stay at home message will be replaced with a 'be careful when you're out' mantra, according to one Cabinet minister, who added that the easing of lockdown will be based on how much each step of the plan affects the rate of infection - or R. 
The government is thought to have drawn up a draft 50-page blueprint to gradually ease lockown in staggered steps between now and October.
This blueprint is expected to lead to a five step roadmap to see Britain leave lockdown completely by Autumn - but an 'emergency brake' could be applied if a second wave of the deadly virus arrives.
However, Mr Johnson faces a battle with Nicola Sturgeon and Labour mayors such as Andy Burnham, who have been warning it is too early for major loosening.
Ms Sturgeon said earlier this week that the outbreak in Scotland is worse than the rest of the county, and insisted yesterday that the UK should move 'at the same pace' as the place where infections are worst. The SNP has demanded she must sign off on an exit plan before Mr Johnson unveils it. 
In a round of interview this morning, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis frantically tried to play down public expectations on the scale of the easing, saying 'although we believe we are through the peak of this virus we are very cautious to ensure that we don't get a second peak'. 
A leaked version of the exit plan has revealed:  
  • Step one: From Monday it is is expected garden centres will reopen, more key workers' children will go to school and more staff to return to businesses that stayed open during lockdown. The 'once a day' exercise rule will also be scrapped and police will be told to stop moving on people sunbathing or sitting on benches, provided they remain two metres from others. Officers will also be told not to stop families travelling to the countryside for walks and picnics;
  • Step two: From the end of May primary schools will gradually return with smaller classes. Outdoor sports where people enjoy space like golf, tennis and angling could resume.
  • Step three: From the end of June secondary schools will reopen as well as some outdoor sports and cafes returning. Gatherings of up to 30 people may be allowed;
  • Step four: From the end of August pubs and restaurants will finally be allowed to reopen - but with strict social distancing rules and reduced diner numbers;
  • Step five: From October, if the rate of coronavirus cases is low, all remaining areas of the economy will reopen including gyms. Sports fans returning to watch live matches will also be considered;  
Boris Johnson will not announce the 'exit strategy' - which is expected to include a five-point plan for easing lockdown - until Sunday
Boris Johnson will not announce the 'exit strategy' - which is expected to include a five-point plan for easing lockdown - until Sunday
Boris Johnson made his return to PMQs in the House of Commons on Wednesday after a six week absence. He conceded that the UK's coronavirus death toll is 'appalling' but is set to push ahead with the easing of lockdown restrictions
Boris Johnson made his return to PMQs in the House of Commons on Wednesday after a six week absence. He conceded that the UK's coronavirus death toll is 'appalling' but is set to push ahead with the easing of lockdown restrictions
Athlete Tori Beaumont of Brighton, no longer able to train in a gymnasium, uses the fine weather to train on the beach. The government will ease restrictions but urge people to 'be careful'
Athlete Tori Beaumont of Brighton, no longer able to train in a gymnasium, uses the fine weather to train on the beach. The government will ease restrictions but urge people to 'be careful'

The number of new cases of coronavirus spiked today, according to the latest Number 10 data, as testing capacity continued to increase

The number of new cases of coronavirus spiked today, according to the latest Number 10 data, as testing capacity continued to increase
The UK's coronavirus outbreak remains on a slow downward trajectory after peaking in the middle of last month
The Prime Minister will also host a Cobra emergency meeting with leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the hope of agreeing a UK-wide approach. 
He is pushing ahead despite admitting the UK's official death toll, which surpassed 30,000 yesterday and is the worst in Europe, is 'appalling'.   
Mr Johnson said in the Commons yesterday: 'We have to be sure the data is going to support our ability to do this. 
'That data is coming in continuously over the next few days. We want, if we possibly can, to get going with some of these measures on Monday.
'It would be a good thing if the people had an idea of what's coming the following day, that's why Sunday, the weekend, is the best time to do it.'  
Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave a hint as to what could be expected as he suggested cafes with outdoor seating could be allowed to reopen while Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the exit plan will look at how a wide range of firms can be 'adapted' so they can resume business. 
Mr Hancock told Sky News: 'There is strong evidence that outdoors the spread is much, much lower, so there may be workarounds that some businesses, for instance cafes, especially over the summer, may be able to put into place.'
His comments are likely to prompt questions as to whether pubs could also be allowed to reopen over the summer if they have a beer garden as some chains suggested customers could order rounds using their mobile phones. 
Meanwhile, Public Health England is said to have told councils across the country to prepare this weekend to shift away from the government's current 'stay home' message to a new slogan.
Unions have also complained that teachers are being urged to come into schools more to get them ready for a return to work - demanding more clarity on what health and safety protections will be in place.

UK faces worst recession in 300 years, warns Bank of England 

UK GDP will slump by 14 per cent this year as coronavirus inflicts the worst recession for three centuries, the Bank of England warned today.
In a grim assessment, the Bank said the economy could shrink by nearly 30 per cent in the first half of this year before recovering some ground.
But the impact of the deadly disease will continue to be felt long afterwards. Unemployment could hit 9 per cent before falling back again. 
The overall 14 per cent fall in output estimated for 2020 would be the biggest recession for more than 300 years. 
The Bank says it believes there was a 3 per cent contraction in the first quarter, and sees GDP plummeting by an incredible 25 per cent in the current three month period, before finally clawing back some ground. 
Announcing that interest rates have been kept on hold at a record low of 0.1 per cent, Governor Andrew Bailey said it was acting to ease the effects as much as possible and tried to strike a more optimistic tone by saying there would be limited economic 'scarring'.  
But in another bleak sign this morning, former Chancellor Alistair Darling warned that the Bank might be too optimistic about the prospects for a quick recovery. 
There have been splits in Cabinet over how quickly to ease the lockdown, with some 'hawks' suggesting the economy should be prioritised once it is demonstrated that the NHS can cope with coronavirus cases. 
But Mr Lewis said this morning that the mood in government was for 'caution'. 
'I would say to people that the current Government position is very clear that where you can work from home you should, we should stay home wherever we can,' he said.
He added: 'I would just say to people to not get too carried away with what we may be reading and just wait until the Government guidelines and the Prime Minister's statement.'
Mr Lewis said: 'I would really urge caution. The safest thing to do at the moment with this virus and the way it spreads is wherever you can stay home.'
The Bank of England today warned that GDP will slump by 14 per cent this year as coronavirus inflicts the worst recession for three centuries.
In a grim assessment, the Bank said the economy could shrink by nearly 30 per cent in the first half of this year before recovering some ground.
But the impact of the deadly disease will continue to be felt long afterwards. Unemployment could hit 9 per cent before falling back again. 
The overall 14 per cent fall in output estimated for 2020 would be the biggest recession for more than 300 years. 
The Bank says it believes there was a 3 per cent contraction in the first quarter, and sees GDP plummeting by an incredible 25 per cent in the current three month period, before finally clawing back some ground. 
Announcing that interest rates have been kept on hold at a record low of 0.1 per cent, Governor Andrew Bailey said it was acting to ease the effects as much as possible and tried to strike a more optimistic tone by saying there would be limited economic 'scarring'.  

Ban on exercising more than once a day likely to be lifted in first wave of lockdown easing

A ban on exercising more than once a day outside could be one of the first lockdown measures lifted by Boris Johnson, with golf courses, tennis clubs and fishing lakes allowed to reopen next month. 
The Prime Minister is expected to renew social distancing rules on Thursday before using an address to the nation on Sunday to set out his lockdown exit strategy. 
Relaxing rules around outdoor activities is expected to be one of the PM's first moves because experts believe coronavirus is less likely to spread outside than it is inside. 
The Mail can reveal today that a selection of activities will be given the green light to reopen within weeks. 
Golf, tennis and angling are on a draft list of sports which will be allowed to resume from a date in June if they can be shown to be done safely. The Bank of England today estimated a 14 per cent fall in GDP for 2020 - which would be the biggest recession for 300 years
The Bank of England today estimated a 14 per cent fall in GDP for 2020 - which would be the biggest recession for 300 years
But in another bleak sign this morning, former Chancellor Alistair Darling warned that the Bank might be too optimistic about the prospects for a quick recovery. 
Mr Johnson made his lockdown timing announcement as he returned to the House of Commons for the first time since his recovery from coronavirus. 
Wednesday marked the debut clash between Mr Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer as the Labour leader accused the PM of botching the UK's response to the outbreak.  

UK becomes first country in Europe to record more than 30,000 deaths

The UK has today become the first country in Europe to record 30,000 deaths from the coronavirus after the Government announced 649 more victims.
Now at a total of 30,076 dead because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the UK has hit the grim milestone before either Spain or Italy, which were widely considered to have the worst outbreaks in Europe. 
Only the US has recorded more fatalities, with 72,000. 
Prime Minister Boris Johnson today admitted the situation is 'appalling' after being grilled by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said: 'How on Earth did it come to this?'
The rising death toll has triggered calls for an inquiry into Downing Street's handling of the crisis, with doctors accusing the Government of being too slow to start lockdown and of running an 'inadequate' testing and tracing scheme. 
Officials announced today that 201,101 people have now tested positive for the disease - an increase of 6,111 people today. 
He said only last week the government had boasted other countries were looking at the 'apparent success' of Downing Street's approach to tackling the virus. 
But with the official death toll now above 30,000, Sir Keir asked Mr Johnson: 'How on Earth did it come to this?' 
Mr Johnson tried to deflect the criticism as he insisted now is not the time for international comparisons due to differences in the way countries compile their statistics.  
When and how to ease the current draconian lockdown measures has dominated Westminster for weeks as ministers try to figure out how to get Britain back to work.
Referring to his planned address on Sunday, Mr Johnson told MPs at PMQs: 'I just want to explain to the House as a courtesy why it is happening on a Sunday.
'The reason for that is very simple, that we have to be sure that the data is going to support our ability to do this.
'But that data is coming in continuously over the next few days. We will want if we possibly can to get going with some of these measures on Monday.
'I think it would be a good thing if people had an idea of what is coming the following day, that is why I think Sunday, the weekend, is the best time to do it.' 
Mr Jenrick told today's Downing Street press conference that the exit plan will look at how workplaces from factories to construction sites to offices can be 'adapted' to allow people back to work. 
It will also look at how outdoor spaces, including high streets and markets, can be 'managed' to allow the return of shoppers. 
'The Prime Minister will set out on Sunday our approach to the second phase of this pandemic and as we look ahead to supporting businesses as they are able to reopen, my department will lead our work on how our local economies can adapt, evolve, recover and grow,' he said.    

Cafes with outdoor seating could reopen

Matt Hancock suggested yesterday that cafes could reopen soon if they can provide outdoor seating. 
Asked by a cafe owner about how he could reopen because his business was too small to enforce two-metre social distancing, the Health Secretary said there would be an announcement shortly. 
He said that cafes could open if they can serve customers outside because, he told Sky News: 'There's very strong evidence that, outdoors, the spread [of the virus] is much, much lower.' 
He also indicated that playing Frisbee in a public park was acceptable daily exercise, saying he had done just that with his children during the weekend.
The comments came after it was claimed that a ban on exercising more than once a day outside will be one of the first rules to be lifted. 
Relaxing rules around outdoor activities is expected to be one of the PM's first moves because experts believe the risk of transmission of the disease is lower outside than it is inside.
The Mail today revealed that a selection of activities will be given the green light to reopen within weeks. 
Golf, tennis and angling are on a draft list of sports which will be allowed to resume from a date in June if they can be shown to be done safely.  
Experts believe allowing some sporting activities to resume will deliver a much needed boost to the nation's morale. 
On the golf course, players will be told to maintain a distance of 6ft from others at all times and clubhouses will remain shut. 
Guidelines will say golfers must use their own clubs and they may be limited to playing against one other person.

Buy a paper, says Jenrick 

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick yesterday called on Britons to buy a newspaper to help publications make it through the Covid-19 shutdown. 
He said: 'A free country needs a free press and the national, the regional and the local newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure. 
'I would like to echo the words of the Culture Secretary [Oliver Dowden] recently in encouraging everyone who can to buy a newspaper.' 
Across the industry, many titles have been forced to furlough staff and reduce pay. 
Tennis players could be asked to wear gloves on court to stop the virus being spread as they pick up the ball. They might also be restricted to playing with members of their household.
Mr Johnson last appeared in front of MPs on March 25 when the UK's lockdown was just two days old. 
He spent much of the six weeks since then recovering from his own battle with coronavirus before formally returning to work last week. 
He had been due to attend PMQs last Wednesday but stand-in Dominic Raab continued to face Sir Keir because of the birth of Mr Johnson's son Wilfred.
Sir Keir welcomed Mr Johnson back to the chamber before tearing into his handling of the coronavirus crisis. 

Workers could be asked to spend four days in the office and then 10 days working from home

Britons could spend four days working in the office and the next ten working from home in radical new plans put to the government today. 
Businesses are being urged to follow the drastic model which would split the population into two groups and follow a 'four days on, ten days off' cyclical strategy. 
The strategy would kick-start the economy while avoiding a second peak of COVID-19 infections, according to the report conducted by Imperial College Professor Keith Willison and published by the Adam Smith Institute.
The research paper suggests dividing the population into two groups of households, each working or attending school Monday to Thursday, then entering a 10 day period off.  
Each group works or attends school while the other group is off, and individuals in the two groups do not interact with each other. 
Saturday and Sunday weekends would no longer apply, with two-day weekends changing according to the rotation.  
'Can I welcome the Prime Minister back to his place and say that it is good to see him back in Parliament,' he said.
'Although I have done this privately, can I congratulate him publicly with Carrie on the birth of their son. 
'When the Prime Minister returned to work a week ago Monday he said that many people were looking at the apparent success of the government's approach. 
'But yesterday we learned tragically that at least 29,427 people in the UK have now lost their lives to this dreadful virus. 
'That is now the highest number in Europe. It is the second highest in the world. 
'That is not success, or apparent success, so can the Prime Minister tell us how on Earth did it come to this?'  
Mr Johnson replied: 'First, of course, every death is a tragedy and he is right to draw attention to the appalling statistics not just in this country but of course around the world. 
'I think I would echo really in answer to his question what we have heard from Professor David Spiegelhalter and others that at this stage I don't think that international comparisons and the data is yet there to draw the conclusions that we want. 
'What I can tell him is that at every stage as we took the decisions that we did we were governed by one overriding principle and aim and that was to save lives and to protect our NHS. 








Robert JenrickMatt Hancock
Police talk to people relaxing on Portobello Beach in Edinburgh - something that may be more allowable next week after lockdown is eased
People remain socially distanced but Glasgow's Botanic Gardens are still busy despite the ban on people congregating
The prospect of lockdown measures being lifted will be welcomed by many across the nation. People are pictured today sat next to the River Ness in Scotland

Pub chain Greene King says customers could order drinks using mobile phones after lockdown

Greene King customers will be able to order drinks from pub gardens using a phone app under plans to get the chain's 2,700 taverns back open while sticking to social distancing rules
Pub customers in Britain may only be allowed back in beer gardens at first when the country steps out of the coronavirus lockdown.
The Greene King chain has said punters will have to order drinks outside via a phone app with social distancing measures in place.
Bosses are also looking at introducing safety measures such as face masks for staff, plastic screens and tables being spread further apart.
But chief executive Nick Mackenzie told the Sunday Times: 'The challenge we have is making sure those measures don't take away the point of a pub, which is socialising.'
The Suffolk-based company has also started trials on home delivery of fresh real ale, and some of its pubs have become grocery pick-up spots during the lockdown.
Mr Mackenzie added: 'It's actually harder to open than to close. We're asking for at least three weeks' notice before we open, to get stock in pubs and get our people off furlough.'
The company has furloughed 98 per cent of its 38,000 staff and Mr Mackenzie has taken a 50 per cent pay cut.
Pubs, restaurants, hotels and leisure centres are expected to be among the last businesses to open when the lockdown is lifted
The pandemic could usher in a 'golden age for cycling', the Prime Minister has said, amid warnings public transport will struggle to cope with social distancing rules. 
Boris Johnson told the Commons a 'huge amount of planning' is under way to encourage commuters to avoid crowded trains and buses once the lockdown is lifted. 
It came as London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned passenger numbers on the Tube will have to be reduced to 20 per cent of pre-crisis levels even when full services resume to maintain social distancing. 
Mr Johnson said yesterday: 'There'll be a huge amount of planning going into helping people to get to work other than by mass transit, and this should be a new golden age for cycling'I believe that of course there will be a time to look at what decisions we took and whether we could have taken different decisions. 
'But I have absolutely no doubt that what the people of this country want us to do now is as I said just now, to suppress this disease, to keep suppressing this disease and to begin the work of getting our country's economy back on its feet.' 
There are growing fears among some Tory MPs about how the next few months could play out given the current state of the coronavirus crisis and the scale of the death toll.
Some believe Sir Keir could be well suited to scrutinising Mr Johnson and the government's response to the outbreak given the former's previous roll as the director of public prosecutions. 
One worried Tory MP told Politico: 'We are in a completely different world now, in terms of the opposition as well as the virus.
'Starmer is a prosecuting lawyer, and it is going to be the case for the prosecution every week, with Boris as the accused.'
The government is under growing pressure to agree to an inquiry into coronavirus in the UK.  
Official Department of Health data published yesterday showed 29,427 people had died - but those numbers only include people who have tested positive for the virus.   
Different detailed statistics also published yesterday suggested that more than 30,000 Britons had died of COVID-19 by April 24 - almost two weeks ago - and the number of victims continues to rise. 
Trends suggest more than 40,000 people may actually have died with the illness, the same number of civilians who were killed over seven months during the Blitz in World War Two.  
The president of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association has now said there should be an investigation into the Government's performance.
Dr Claudia Paoloni said questions must be asked about how quickly Downing Street reacted to the threat, whether lockdown came early enough and why the testing and tracing attempt has been 'inadequate'.
Boris: This could be golden age of cycling 
She told The Guardian: 'There will have to be a full investigation of the handling of the COVID response in due course - a public inquiry - to understand why we are experiencing such large numbers in comparison to the rest of Europe. ' 
Addressing the country on Wednesday, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick yesterday called on Britons to buy a newspaper to help publications make it through the Covid-19 shutdown. 
He said: 'A free country needs a free press and the national, the regional and the local newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure. 
'I would like to echo the words of the Culture Secretary [Oliver Dowden] recently in encouraging everyone who can to buy a newspaper.' 
Across the industry, many titles have been forced to furlough staff and reduce pay. 

Struggling pubs fear last orders – even after the lockdown ends 

By Lucy White
A third of pub and restaurant bosses are expecting to permanently close sites as a result of Covid-19, a survey found yesterday. 
Businesses have already been forced to shut their doors to the public since March. Now the survey, from data firm CGA and technology specialist Fourth, reveals bosses in the sector remain 'deeply pessimistic' about its future. 
Karl Chessell of CGA said: 'The size and shape of the eating and drinking out market is projected to look very different post-lockdown.' 
It came as experts said businesses across all sectors are facing collapse, even after the lockdown ends, as social distancing measures present 'unprecedented challenges'. 
More than half of firms in the UK would be unable to run at full capacity under these conditions, the Institute of Directors said. If customers must stay 6ft apart, for example, shops will be unable to allow as many in and restaurants will have to accept fewer bookings. 
Gym groups, bars and retailers are worried that even when the lockdown ends, customers will continue to stay away. 
The IoD and manufacturing trade body Make UK are calling for more Government support, such as helping firms buy personal protective equipment for staff. 
Jonathan Geldart of the IoD said: 'Leaving lockdown, when it happens, won't be plain sailing for business.' But in a rare piece of good news, businesses were yesterday spared a 'painful' rates rise which would have caused thousands to go bust. 
Shops, restaurants and other high street firms had faced being landed with artificially high rates bills for the next five years because their premises would have been taxed based on pre-crisis rents. 
But ministers yesterday postponed the rates change. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: 'We have listened to businesses.' 

No comments:

Post a comment

Bottom Ad [Post Page]