C-Virus Special: Stay Alert: Has Boris Got It Wrong?

In the messaging yes, Boris created a lot of anxiety and confusion with his over generalised broadcast and his blustering enthusiasm. Covid 19 is not a war which can be ended when the enemy signs a surrender document. So stuff like ‘together we will beat it’ really is off target. Moreover there is a general theme that if you follow certain rules, habits and regulations, you can be ‘safe’. This is only true if you remain isolated and indoors.

Once you step outside, unless and until the virus either dies out or is controlled by universal vaccination, you cannot be absolutely safe. What you can do is assess the risk and mitigate it by actions and behaviours which take into account both your own vulnerability but also the environment and contacts with whom you engage.

To help you, extensive guidance has  been published, covering  every activity and every level of society. Some restrictions are being relaxed immediately, with more to come if the R number remains below one. A Road Map and various new and developing processes, including an alert system and extensive testing, are all part of the staged ending of the lock down.

From today some people can go back to work and everyone is free to exercise as much as they like out of doors. Most of this is clear and there is no point in criticising ministers. Maybe it could be done better, maybe not. But what is wrong for sure, is the over-riding message that somehow you and yours can be safe.

What the new regulations are designed to achieve, is to reduce the risk to acceptable levels so that a modified form of normal life can return. That is how Boris and his government should present their policy. Their priority now is to get their testing and tracing, PPE and other essential infrastructure fully functional and capable of  meeting the challenges of coming out of lock down. Continued fumbling and failure here is not an option.


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