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Sunday, 19 April 2020

Traffic light system to get out of lockdown: Schools could go back on May 11 and hairdressers and clothes shops reopen - but over 70s face being stuck indoors for a YEAR

Traffic light system to get out of lockdown 'could see schools back in weeks'
An 'exit strategy' being pushed by senior ministers would see the country get back up in running in stages after May 11, amid mounting fears over the catastrophic impact on the economy. The 'traffic light' scheme is gaining traction amid signs Boris Johnson is gearing up to take back the reins of government, making calls to ministers from Chequers where he is recuperating from his own health scare with the disease. Schools could start to return after the current lockdown period expires on May 11, but age groups might attend on different days to make 'social distancing' easier, under the ideas reported in the Sunday Times. Meanwhile, clothes shops (bottom right) and hairdressers could be among the 'non-essential' stores given a 'green light' to reopen with precautions to protect customers. An 'amber' phase could see a comeback for small social gatherings, potentially including weddings 


However, it might not be until later in the year that pubs and restaurants (pictured left) can reopen and sporting events get up and running. Over-70s would face a 'red light' for months more, and could have to wait until a vaccine before going back to normal life. 

Primary pupils and those due to sit GCSEs and A-levels would be prioritised, under the blueprint reported in the Sunday Times.
Meanwhile, clothes shops and garden centres could be among the 'non-essential' stores given a 'green light' to reopen with precautions to protect customers. Rail services would be brought up to normal levels, with commuters probably urged to wear facemasks, and the NHS would resume carrying out non-urgent procedures. 
A second 'amber' stage later in the summer would see more of the economy revived, with all employees told to go back to work and some social gatherings allowed. 
However, it might not be until later in the year that pubs and restaurants can reopen and sporting events get up and running.
The over-70s also face a 'red light' for months more, and could have to wait until a vaccine before going back to normal life - with claims that could take a year of even more.
Cabinet minister MIchael Gove tried to dampen down rampant speculation over loosening of restrictions this morning, saying while it was 'entirely understandable' people want to know the way out it was too early to make such decisions. 
Asked if the 'traffic light' system was the government's 'exit strategy', Mr Gove told Sky News: 'No it's not. It is the case that we are looking at all the evidence. But we have  set some tests that must be passed before we can even think about easing the lockdown.' 
Although he stressed no decisions had been taken, Mr Gove did hint at the shape of an easing, suggesting pubs and other parts of the hospitality industry will be 'among the last' to come back.  
  • The government was accused by Labour of 'treating the public like children' by refusing to spell out how the exit strategy from lockdown might look, with leader Keir Starmer demanding a 'road map' out of the crisis; 
  • OECD chief Angel Gurria warned there will have to be 'stop-go' arrangements in place for 'social distancing' for a long time to come, urging governments to 'err on the side of caution' to avoid the worst possible outcomes for economies; 
  • The Irish health minister has suggested pubs might not be able to open until there is a coronavirus vaccine, which some believe will take more than a year; 
  • Infectious diseases expert Sir Jeremy Farar, a member of the government's own SAGE advisory group, has cautioned that the lockdown 'cannot go on much longer' as it is 'damaging all our lives' and could start to be eased within three or four weeks;  
  • The chairman of the British Medical Association council said it had warned the government 'weeks ago' about the risk of personal protective equipment shortages but hit a 'brick wall';
  • Mr Gove said the UK had sent PPE equipment to China early in the outbreak, but insisted it was not part of the UK's pandemic stocks and stressed the Asian superpower had since sent back far more than it received; 
  • One of the scientists leading efforts to make the breakthrough warned it is not 'completely certain' that a coronavirus vaccine can be produced, with Mr Gove admitting no-one should see it as a 'dead cert'; 
A 'traffic light' plan for easing the crippling lockdown curbs is being pushed by some ministers - although Downing Street is flatly denying it has a fixed plan yet
A 'traffic light' plan for easing the crippling lockdown curbs is being pushed by some ministers - although Downing Street is flatly denying it has a fixed plan yet
Via - Dailymail

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