When Boris Johnson locked the UK out on March 23, he said it would last the first three weeks.
So when the government has to review the lock on Thursday – how is the British government going to relax the rules and reopen an economy that has been shut down by COVID-19?
Last week, the leaders of Norway, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Austria announced plans to ease restrictions in their country. The plans will be implemented in the coming weeks.
Experts predicted the Coronavirus pandemic would peak on Easter Sunday in the UK, based on mathematical modeling. It then seemed likely to stabilize at this level for more than a few days. But scientists and doctors then pushed back that timeline, saying the UK may not peak until at least a week.
Bronwen Maddox, director of the think tank at the Institute for Government, says that until a vaccine is created, there will be no “real exit plan to resume normal life.”
She added, “They [the UK government] will try with models to very carefully build a picture of what is going on if you publish this or that, but they really don’t want to encourage people to get it all up at the same time.
“There is a debate over whether or not schools are of great help in containing the infection right now.
“We’re going to have to start looking at the two areas with the highest economic costs and the lowest medical risks in trying to get out of this situation. “
One of the main German think tanks, the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, suggests that industries with higher economic value – such as telecommunications and automakers – should be given priority, while sectors that can afford to have employees working from home should continue to do so.
Their report suggests that some areas with low infection rates and health centers that have not been overcrowded could pave the way for gradual reopening.
In the UK, any decision to loosen the lockdown is likely to be complicated by the fact that different parts of the country are at different stages of their epidemics.
When restrictions were imposed on March 23, the Prime Minister and his scientific advisers said the capital was two weeks ahead of the rest of the United Kingdom.
Indeed, on the day of the lockout, London was responsible for more than one in four daily deaths in England and more than a third in the United Kingdom. In the past week or so, that balance has changed as other regions have started to catch up.
Hospital admissions tell a similar story: London is trending downward, but the North West, Midlands and North East and Yorkshire regularly show daily increases of 20-40%.
The same is true in other UK countries, including Scotland and Wales, where Health Minister Vaughan Gething recently suggested that the virus is moving from east to west of the UK. United.
All this has led to speculation of a progressive liberation foreclosure in which London, for example, could be released first, while other regions and cities will still have to follow the rules.
Isla Glaister, a data journalist with Sky News, said: “Of course, this can cause problems. What if Londoners start traveling to other parts of the country?
“Every day gives scientists more information about the progress of the epidemic but, as people see the curve begin to flatten, they may become impatient to resume a normal life.
“The government has always said that when the lock is lifted is crucial – but the same goes for the way it is done and finding the right balance means it could be later, rather than earlier. “
Denmark will be one of the first to ease restrictions in Europe. But he was also one of the first to be locked out on March 11.
The country’s center for disease control research, the Statens Serum Institute (SSI), has formed a group of experts to develop mathematical models and study the impact of relaxing restrictions on specific dates.
The Danish approach has been to loosen the restrictions enough to meet the population’s demand for incremental freedom. The government sets the restrictions it wants to lower and SSI sets the date on which it can be done safely.
Using SSI analysis, the Ministry of Health said the country could open daycare centers on April 15, as well as allow students who sit their final exams in high school and college to attend school.
He insisted that companies continue to work their employees at home as much as possible, as their models were extremely sensitive to “lasting respect for social distancing measures”.
The city of Wuhan – the epicenter at the start of the pandemic – has emerged from 76 days of containment, with authorities still warning that the threat of new infections is far from over.
The rest of China was taken into custody from February and began to relax the restrictions a few weeks later, except in Hebei province, where the COVID-19 pandemic began.
According to investment bank UBS, about 30% of the scenic spots and some museums in China have reopened to the public, but cinemas and theaters had to close after a government turnaround.
Most major events are still banned and social distancing continues to be encouraged to avoid relapse of infections.
Dr. Simon Clarke, associate professor of cell microbiology at the University of Reading, warns that cases are breaking out in China, Japan and Singapore despite the easing of restrictions.
He added: “I think we will lift the controls and have to reintroduce them at some point.
“The (British) government will have to sit down with advisers – their mathematical modelers – and decide how best to ease off. “