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CORDER’S COLUMN: Stay Alert

Little is guaranteed about the coming few months but one thing is certain, we must get the country back to work as soon as it is safely possible.

The government wants more people to return to their jobs in construction and manufacturing this week, and it will be the turn of retailers in three weeks’ time if the infection rate continues to fall.

This is a big if. But the alternative, to continue with the hard lock down Stay at Home message chosen by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, has to change at some point. If not today, then when?.

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There has to be a date — and over a year before we are likely to have an effective vaccine — on which everybody but the most vulnerable is released from the full Stay at Home instruction.

I do not think the Stay Alert slogan is very good, but I seriously struggle to come up with a better alternative because it is no longer possible to issue the same instruction to everybody.

From now on, individuals and employers have to make more of their own decisions.

I believe the passage of time will take some of the emotion out of today’s anger at the change in message.

If more of the economy opens up AND infection rates continue to fall, as we see in most of Continental Europe, I expect the public appetite for further easing to increase.

This, in a nutshell, is Mr Johnson’s new plan.

There are enormous challenges to overcome, not least how to keep people safe on public transport. But, we cannot wait until all risk has gone, we have to take calculated risks as soon as possible.

The government cannot keep millions of furloughed workers on its payroll forever. We have to work out how to get businesses back on their feet.

2 Comments

  1. Fair comment. We can’t stay in lockdown forever. But, living in Scotland, I am quite confident in Nicola Sturgeon knows what she is doing – she doesn’t want to confuse the message – and so far looks a little more decisive than Boris Johnson. Scotland is also slightly behind the curve in terms of the outbreak, which could also explain it. And deaths in care homes are still on a upward trajectory here. My general feeling is that in spite of differences, I could also see Scotland lifting some of the lockdown restrictions in June.

    I finally get the stay alert message, but still not sure about ‘control the virus.’

  2. Honestly, too soon to be giving the message that we are over the worse of it and even more confusing when the UK is not together with one clear message !!

    Living on the West Coast of Wales we are very lucky to have a very low death rate but fear with the mixed message of Boris, that we will see an influx of those crossing the border to come to the coast to “exercise” and the police will be pretty much powerless to control this, all despite Wales, as with Scotland, having a Stay At Home policy.

    Crazy that the Government is looking at the end of the month to make those entering the UK “self isolate” for 14 days, why has this not been implemented over 7 weeks ago ( the UK and Jordan the only countries in the World not to adopt border screening ) How many of the 750K who have entered since lockdown have been infected and have gone on to spread the virus or worse still, die ?

    I fully understand the economy needs to start again but not at the cost of more lives !!

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder