Dominic Raab Rejects Calls to Define Coronavirus Lockdown Exit Strategy

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Dominic Raab today castigated “irresponsible” criticism for demanding that the British government explain how it would facilitate the blocking of the country’s coronavirus.

Conservative donors, ministers and Sir Keir Starmer have all told Boris Johnson that he needs to release his strategy to ease the restrictions as the Prime Minister prepares to return to work tomorrow.

But Mr Raab spoiled these calls this morning because he said that Britain was still at a “delicate and dangerous” stage of the epidemic and that the focus should remain on slowing the spread of the disease and reducing the number of deaths.

However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who replaced Mr. Johnson, insisted that ministers do their “homework” on how to lift the rules in the future, but stressed “frankly, it is not responsible for starting to speculate on individual measures. “

Johnson has been recuperating at Checkers since his discharge from hospital on April 12 after his own intensive care battle with the coronavirus, but told his allies that he was now “impatient to leave.”

The Prime Minister will formally return to the front line in an atmosphere of growing hostility at the government’s repeated refusal to publicly discuss how the restrictions will be lifted.

Many conservative donors, including Michael Spencer and Steve Morgan, today broke off the cover to tell the Prime Minister that draconian measures should be relaxed as soon as possible because of mounting fears of lasting damage to the British economy.

Three cabinet ministers voiced their own concerns, with some fearing that the British public would now be fed up with the restrictions and could “take a lot more.”

Meanwhile, Sir Keir, the leader of the Labor party, warned the Prime Minister that the UK risked “falling behind the rest of the world” in terms of how life would return to something normal.

Economists have also warned that failing to break the lock quickly could make Britain the western nation most affected by the virus.

The series of major interventions came after the death toll from coronavirus in the UK reached 20,000.

Dominic Raab today slapped critics who demanded that the British government lay out its locking exit strategy

Dominic Raab today slapped critics who demanded that the British government lay out its locking exit strategy

Boris Johnson, pictured in Downing Street on March 25, is scheduled to return to work at number 10 tomorrow

Boris Johnson, pictured in Downing Street on March 25, is scheduled to return to work at number 10 tomorrow

The dark milestone of 20,000 - which also saw the number of people testing positive for coronavirus increase from 4,913 to 148,377 - came as the coronavirus lockout continued into its fifth weekend and the government had to do faced with calls for greater transparency on scientific advice given to ministers on the epidemic.

The dark milestone of 20,000 – which also saw the number of people testing positive for coronavirus increase from 4,913 to 148,377 – came as the coronavirus lockout continued into its fifth weekend and the government had to do faced with calls for greater transparency on scientific advice given to ministers on the epidemic.

There is growing evidence that some Britons are fed up with staying at home, with more vehicles on the roads of the country and more people visiting the parks.

But Raab told Sophy Ridge on Sky News that the government needs to be “confident” when it comes to easing the restrictions.

“As we go through this crisis, we are at a delicate and dangerous stage and we have to make sure that the next steps are well taken, that is why we are proceeding with great caution,” he said.

“We are sticking to medical advice, scientific advice, social distancing measures right now while doing all the homework if you want to make sure we are prepared in time for the next phase.” “

Last week, Nicola Sturgeon presented her own plan to ease the foreclosure in Scotland and said today that she is willing to move independently of the British government, but stressed that the restrictions are likely to remain in place beyond the current three-week period.

Mr Raab was asked why the British government did not have the same public confidence in his plan and the Minister for Foreign Affairs responded by saying that the ministers had already laid down the criteria for when the lock could be lifted.

He said his five tests – which include a guarantee that there won’t be a second peak in the epidemic – should be met before action is taken.

“Until we can be confident, on the basis of scientific advice, that we will take safe measures in the future that protect life but also preserve our way of life, frankly, it is not responsible for starting to speculate on individual measures, “he said.

“I read Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish government report on this and it is 25 pages long and is very careful and consistent with the five tests we have defined.

“We will be guided by scientific advice and we want to make sure that, as we approach the moment when we can make changes, we are guided by science and, as I said, taking massive care of health from the public, but also by making sure that we take safe action.

“I think everything else is irresponsible and frankly for everyone else who says that we should present proposals in detail. I have actually not seen any of these people suggest specific things and I think they are right not to do so at this point. . ‘

Keir Starmer demands that Boris Johnson establish a plan to get out of isolation

Sir Keir Starmer warned Boris Johnson that the UK could “fall behind the rest of the world” in its response to coronaviruses if ministers continued to refuse to tell the public what the strategy for exiting the lockout was. government.

The leader of the Labor party wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to hold an “adult conversation” with the British to clarify what they are likely to face next.

Sir Keir’s decision comes after many British ministers have repeatedly refused to discuss how the lockdowns could be relaxed despite the Scottish and Welsh decentralized governments which have published their own plans.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Sir Keir said it was essential that ministers learn from the mistakes made in the face of the crisis.

“Acting simply as if this discussion is not taking place is not credible, especially when other governments and our own decentralized administrations have been able to communicate much more,” he wrote.

He added: “The British government is behind on this point. I fear that we are falling behind the rest of the world. This is why we must see a radical change in the government’s response to this pandemic.

“Decisions need to be made faster and communication with the public needs to be clearer. “

Raab said there was a risk that any measures announced today may have to be abandoned in the future due to the changing evidence as he warned of the “leap of the gun”.

“If we started to propose one or the other measure, then later we discovered that we could not implement it, I think you would say that we had jumped the gun, you would criticize us for this and I think the public would get mixed messaging, “he said.

“What we have said very clearly is that we have established the five tests for what the next transition phase will look like. It will not only be a step backwards, it will be a new standard with social distancing measures tailored to the currently closed areas and we will ensure that we are guided by scientific evidence.

“The scientists themselves said when I exposed these five tests 10 days ago that they said it would be dangerous and irresponsible to relax any of the measures now. “

However, Raab’s approach seems in stark contrast to that advocated by Isabella Lovin, Swedish Deputy Prime Minister, who said it was “crucial” for governments to be “as transparent as possible” with the public.

Lovin told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I think it’s crucial, I think it’s absolutely fundamental, that we need to be as transparent as possible. Treat people like adults.

“But there is also a responsibility, an individual responsibility, that you need to listen to what the experts say. “

Raab’s comments come after many donors, MPs and Conservative ministers have said the government needs to provide the public with an idea of ​​how the lock will be lifted.

Spencer, a major donor to the Johnson Conservative leadership campaign in 2019, told The Sunday Times that the measures should be relaxed “as soon as we can reasonably do so” to help the economy “start to moving forward “.

“We should really start to offer a narrative of how and when it will end,” he said.

Meanwhile, Morgan, the former boss of homebuilder Redrow, who made a major donation to the Conservative Party campaign, said the risk was that the “cure” for the lockdown would end up being “more harmful than the remedy. “

He said that easing the lock was not “a matter of profit” but “saving the country from bankruptcy”.

A trio of ministers also expressed concern, one of them told the Sunday Times that they did not think “the public would be able to take much more.”

All passengers returning to the UK face a two-week quarantine

All those entering the UK will be forced to quarantine for a fortnight under plans developed by the government.

The move follows growing pressure for tighter border controls during the coronavirus crisis and would include British citizens returning from abroad.

Airport bosses complained that not limiting arrivals and screening passengers made a mockery of the lock.

The plan – similar to the one implemented by Singapore – was reportedly approved at a meeting of ministers and officials on Wednesday.

Officials have been asked to explore ways to enforce the law, including heavy fines or even criminal prosecution, under the powers conferred by the Coronavirus Law.

A second senior official said that all cabinet members wanted the restrictions to be “relaxed as soon as possible” – at least in part because the public seems to “give it up” and that it is not better to apply the restrictions. “coercive rather than consent” measures. “.

A third minister said waiting too long to relax the measures could lead to unintended consequences, such as more preventable deaths unrelated to the coronavirus.

They said waiting until the number of hospital deaths is close to zero is not the “answer.”

There is also growing pressure among Conservative MPs for the government to act.

Andrea Leadsom, Tory’s former commercial secretary, said companies “would need a notice” before the restrictions were lifted so supply chains could resume operations.

Veteran Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh warned of the risk of long-term economic damage if the foreclosure lasts too long and said it is “essential” that schools come back quickly so people can get back to work .

Meanwhile, Sir Keir wrote to Mr Johnson urging him to hold an ‘adult conversation’ with the British to clarify what they are likely to face next.

Sir Keir Starmer wrote to Mr Johnson to warn that the UK might

Sir Keir Starmer wrote to Mr Johnson to warn that the UK could ‘fall behind the rest of the world’ to ease the lock

Ministers Order 50 Million Coronavirus Immunity Tests

Ministers have ordered the production of up to 50 million new immunity tests as part of what experts hope to be a “revolutionary” development in the battle against Covid-19.

A breakthrough from a team of leading British scientists means that by June people will be able to reliably test whether they have developed immunity to the virus – and then be allowed to return to work and socialize as usually.

The new drama comes as Boris Johnson prepares to return to work on Downing Street tomorrow after telling his aides that he is anxious to help fight the virus that almost killed him.

The pandemic reached another dark milestone yesterday as the death toll in the UK exceeded 20,000, or 813 in 24 hours.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said last month that keeping deaths below 20,000 would be a “good result”.

The new immunity tests, which are expected to cost £ 10, were designed by scientists from Oxford, working for the government-supported Rapid Testing Consortium.

Test users provide a blood specimen for analysis. Then, like a pregnancy test, if two lines appear after waiting 20 minutes, people know they have the antibodies. A line means that they are either vulnerable to infection with a coronavirus, or that the test has failed.

As part of developing the plans, the user would take a picture of the positive result and send it to a central processing unit, which would enter their coordinates into a database.

The consortium estimates that it could produce up to 1 million “side-flow” tests per week by summer, or 50 million by next year.

The government refuses to talk about easing the lockdown, but the Scottish and Welsh decentralized governments have already established their own roadmaps to get back to normal.

Sir Keir suggested that it was therefore untenable for Downing Street not to solve the problem.

He said in his letter: “The British government is behind on this point. I fear that we are falling behind the rest of the world. This is why we must see a radical change in the government’s response to this pandemic.

“Decisions need to be made faster and communication with the public needs to be clearer. “

Labor colleague Sir Keir, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, expressed concern that the government could take an approach that allows different sectors of the economy to reopen at different stages.

He said a “standards-driven” approach should be adopted instead to allow all sectors to reopen as long as they respect social distancing measures.

He told Sky News: ‘I fear that if we take the sectoral approach, it could have serious consequences for a city like Manchester, or to say Blackpool – a city that really depends on tourism and hospitality.

Interim Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey also expressed concern over the absence of an exit strategy from the UK, saying that Britain was “far behind the tests”.

Sir Ed also attacked Mr. Raab for failing to accept an independent inquiry into the government’s management of the epidemic.

“It would be absurd if we did not have an independent public inquiry to learn from it, find out the truth and understand why we seem to have handled it less well than other countries,” he said. he explains. said.

It’s not just politicians who are asking for a way out, with Dr. Gerard Lyons, economic adviser to Mr. Johnson when he was mayor of London, and another economist Paul Ormerod, writing in the Sunday Telegraph that a failure to “Unlocking soon” “could mean that the UK is” the western economy most affected by the virus “.

Johnson is expected to receive the green light to officially return to work tomorrow and he will return to the crisis with the determination to “tighten his grip” on the government’s approach.

Last week, the Prime Minister told his aides during a three-hour Covid-19 strategic session that doctors had given him permission to return.

“I can’t wait to leave,” he insisted.

Mr Johnson, who was released from St Thomas Hospital in central London two weeks ago, spent the past week getting closer to something closer to a normal workload, spending calls to ministers, to work on official documents and to hold a series of – sometimes erratic – meetings on Zoom.

A source said, “Boris is tightening his grip. You’ll see much more clarity, energy and purpose now.

The Prime Minister organized a three-hour Checkers’ summit with prominent figures, including Dominic Raab and Rishi Sunak, when he was briefed on intergovernmental efforts to combat the disease.

The Chancellor presented an economic plan based on “best practices” that have proven successful in countries like Switzerland, Denmark and Germany.

It is understood that the Chancellor informed Mr. Johnson of a four-point plan to reopen non-essential stores, change working patterns, then open schools – as well as making “hygiene measures” a permanent feature in British workplaces.

Sunak highlighted projects in Austria, where stores over 4,300 square feet (400 m2) and hardware stores and garden centers have already reopened, while in Germany, hairdressers are open as long as staff and customers wear protective clothing.

And he defended the Czech Republic’s five-step plan to lift all domestic restrictions by June 8, focusing on the country’s plans to begin by opening up farmers’ markets and car dealerships.

According to reports released last week, Mr. Johnson’s serious illness had turned him from a “hawk” who supported an early exit from the lockdown into a “dove” who considered protecting the NHS a top priority.

But this interpretation is disputed by a minister, a close ally of the Prime Minister, who said: “I do not think it is right. He will start showing a leg when leaving the lockout.

But Johnson also would have made it clear that the health of the nation should take precedence over all other considerations, as he quoted the Roman speaker Cicero.

He declared to his allies “salus populi suprema lex esto” which roughly translates into the health or well-being of the people should be the supreme law, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

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