What we learned from Johnson’s 5pm press briefing

1 – Don’t book your holiday yet

Boris Johnson quashed the idea of early holidays by saying the 14 day quarantine had to stay in place, although he did promise a review in three weeks and said that talks were ongoing with other European countries on air corridors to allow easier travel.

Overall his message was cautious. He said: “None of us are safe until we are all safe” as he urged people not to meet in other people’s homes.

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2 – In fact, don’t go down to the woods today

Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, made it clear we are not out of the coronavirus woods yet.

He warned of a “long tail” to the infection peak and estimated 8,000 new cases a day. These are “relatively large numbers still not coming down fast” leaving “relatively little room for manoeuvre, we have to tread very carefully going forward”.

3 – Chris Whitty is worried

“We have to go incredibly cautiously,” said Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer despite lockdown now being eased across the UK.

He said: “We shouldn’t take the fact that small adjustments are being made now to imply that this is suddenly lockdown over. What this is, is a slight reversal of some of the most onerous things on people”

4 – Track and trace is coming but the rules remain

Obvious concern about another global wave and increase in infection mean the government repeated that the public health crisis isn’t over.

Whitty spelled it out in detail – people who have symptoms must isolate and get tested, along with their household and those who have had contact with them must be tracked and tested.

The two metre rule, coughing into a hanky, and washing hands  will “carry on for as long as this epidemic continues”, said a worried Whitty.

5 – An economic crisis as well as health crisis

Johnson admitted that “tragically there will be many job losses ” because of Covid. But he pledged that in dealing with the recession “we will be as activist and interventionist as we have been throughout the lockdown.”

He also said: “young people should be guaranteed an apprenticeship”, setting off a news hare that the government is planning to help out the coronavirus generation who have lost education and job opportunities.


ALSO READ  Scottish economy unlikely to fully recover until 2023 as businesses count the costs of lockdown

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