Education Secretary Gavin Williamson avoids calls to define “exit strategy” for coronavirus

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Tonight, Gavin Williamson dismissed calls to define an “exit strategy” from coronavirus locking – despite ministers’ statements that schools reopen after May 11.

The education secretary challenged a growing clamor for clarity, insisting that he could not “give a date” for students to return to class.

The comments came amidst the first signs that a plan is being developed in government to relieve the misery of the foreclosure, although cabinet seems divided over the possibility of risking more deaths from disease to save the day. economy in free fall.

Williamson told the Downing Street daily briefing that he was sorry that the children had to suffer from the crisis and interrupt their studies. But he said the UK has yet to pass five tests – including the NHS’s capacity being high enough, generalized tests in place and the threat of a reduced second peak.

“I can’t give you a date. Because before we do, we have to pass five tests, “he said.

The nascent plan would see the country restart in stages after May 11, with elementary school students, GCSE students and nurseries being able to return part-time.

Meanwhile, clothing stores and garden centers could be among the “nonessential” stores, given the “green light” to reopen with precautions to protect customers. Rail service would be brought back to normal levels, with commuters likely to be asked to wear face masks, and the NHS would resume non-emergency procedures.

A second “amber” stage later in the summer would see more of the economy revive, with all employees invited to return to work and some authorized social gatherings. However, it may not be until later in the year that pubs and restaurants can reopen and sports events are operational. And those over 70 face a “red light” for many more months, who may have to wait for a vaccine before resuming normal life.

Proposals gain ground amid growing backlash in the absence of a clear plan – and like another 596 coronavirus deaths in the UK have been announced, the grim toll marks the smallest daily increase in two weeks . The total number of deaths is now 16,060, and cases have increased by 5,850 to 120,067.

Another hectic day with tensions rising in the battle of coronaviruses:

  • 596 additional coronavirus deaths have been reported in the UK, marking the smallest daily increase in two weeks. This increase brings the total number of deaths to 16,060, with cases also increasing from 5,850 to 120,067;
  • The government has been accused by the Labor party of “treating the public like children” by refusing to specify what the exit strategy from the lockdown might look like, chief Keir Starmer demanding a “roadmap” to get out of the crisis;
  • Michael Gove defended Boris Johnson for skipping five Cobra crisis meetings in the weeks leading up to the Great Britain epidemic – but admitted that the United Kingdom had sent a shipment of desperately needed personal protective equipment to China. He stressed that the Asian superpower had since dismissed far more than it had received;
  • OECD chief Angel Gurria has warned that long distance social stop-go agreements should be put in place, urging governments to “exercise caution” to avoid the worst possible outcomes for savings;
  • The Irish Minister for Health has suggested that pubs could not open until there is a vaccine against the coronavirus, which some say will take more than a year;
  • Infectious Disease Expert Sir Jeremy Farrar, Member of the Government’s SAGE Advisory Group, has warned that the foreclosure “cannot last much longer” as it “harms all of our lives” and could start to be relaxed here three or four weeks. Sir Jeremy suggested that the UK had passed the first peak, but warned of a “rebound” if the social distancing stopped too suddenly;
  • A shipment of PPE, including desperately needed robes, which the Secretary of Housing, Robert Jenrick, boasted would arrive today from Turkey, has been delayed;
  • The chairman of the board of the British Medical Association said he had warned the government “weeks ago” of the risk of a shortage of personal protective equipment, but that he had hit a “brick wall”;
  • One of the scientists who led the effort to make this breakthrough warned that it was not “completely certain” that a coronavirus vaccine could be produced, Gove admitting that no one should see it as a “Dead certificate”;
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said tonight at the daily Downing Street briefing that he could not yet give a date for the reopening of schools - despite ministers urging that restrictions start lifted after May 11.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said tonight at the daily Downing Street briefing that he could not yet give a date for the reopening of schools – despite ministers urging that restrictions start lifted after May 11.

Disadvantaged Students Get Free Laptops and Tablets for Lockout Learning

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds across England should be given free laptops and tablets to help them learn from home while locked out.

This decision is part of a desire to make distance education accessible to students while their schools are closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time, a new online academy is also launched to provide students with 180 online lessons per week.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said 4G routers will also be provided to ensure disadvantaged high school students and dropouts can access the Internet where these families do not already have mobile or broadband Internet .

The Oak National Academy will launch on Monday after being created by 40 teachers from some of the best schools in England in less than a fortnight.

Its 180 video lessons per week will cover a wide range of subjects, including math, arts and languages, for students aged from reception to grade 10.

Senior ministers are divided between those who want to “run hot”, using the apparent unused capacity of the NHS to quickly release social distancing, and those who fear acting too soon will allow the disease to rage, according to the Sunday Times .

After worrying about the drift to the heart of power, Boris Johnson prepares to take over the reins of government, calling the Checkers ministers where he is recovering from his own health fears with the illness.

Cabinet Minister MIchael Gove tried to curb unbridled speculation about the loosening of restrictions this morning, saying that even though it was “completely understandable”, people want to know how to get out, it was too early to make such decisions.

When asked if the “traffic light” system was the government’s “exit strategy”, Gove told Sky News: “No, it isn’t. It is true that we are looking at all the evidence. But we have set tests that must be passed before we can even think about easing the lockdown.

Although he pointed out that no decision had been made, Gove alluded to the form of a relaxation, suggesting that pubs and other sectors of the hotel industry would be “among the last” to return .

Anger has increased because of the feeling of government drift with the recovery of the PM at Checkers.

It emerged on Friday that Cabinet had asked scientists and medical experts to come up with options to lift the lockdown in a fortnight – suggesting that there would be no official plans released before that date.

But some top conservatives, as well as Labor leader Keir Starmer, demanded quicker decisions amid mounting accusations that the management of the pandemic has been screwed up. Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth today accused ministers of “treating people like children” by refusing to define options.

Some ministers pushed for

Some ministers pushed for “traffic light” plan to ease overwhelming lockout restrictions – though Downing Street flatly denies having a fixed plan yet

Boris Johnson, who is currently recovering from a retired coronavirus from the country, told aides of Downing Street that he could return next week

Boris Johnson, who is currently recovering from a retired coronavirus from the country, told aides of Downing Street that he may return next week

UK still closely following the path taken by other European countries in terms of coronavirus death

UK still closely following the path taken by other European countries in terms of coronavirus death

The number of hospitals with coronavirus is falling sharply in London, although there has been a slight increase in the north-west

The number of hospitals with coronavirus is falling sharply in London, although there has been a slight increase in the north-west

The number of positive tests among key workers and their households has increased in the figures released today as more are examined

The number of positive tests among key workers and their households has increased in the figures released today as more are examined

Gove Defends PM For “Ignoring” Coronavirus Crisis Meetings – And Admits PPE Stocks Have Been Sent To China

Michael Gove defended Boris Johnson for skipping five Cobra crisis meetings in the weeks leading up to the Great Britain epidemic – but admitted that the United Kingdom had sent a shipment of desperately needed personal protective equipment to China.

The prime minister was accused of failing to take charge of the response to the crisis early enough, despite growing concern from scientists over the escalating health emergency in Wuhan.

The lack of urgency was underscored by his leadership delegation and his vacation in the country, said a senior adviser to Downing Street during a Sunday Times investigation.

He also alleged that Whitehall’s attention was focused on Brexit, and long-term crisis preparations were abandoned as key personnel were diverted from the unexpected in the event of a pandemic to eliminate planning without agreement.

Gove, who is part of the so-called “quad” of ministers who are leading the government response while the Prime Minister recovers from his own battle with the disease, called the criticism a “backlash” this morning.

He said it was “ludicrous” to pretend that Mr. Johnson had “skipped” meetings, saying that Cobra sessions were regularly chaired by other ministers when they focused on specific responsibilities.

Gove confirmed that the government had shipped 260,000 items of personal protective equipment to China despite doctors warning sirens that the UK was woefully under-prepared to cope with a pandemic.

But he said the PPE did not come from the UK pandemic stock and that Beijing had since returned “much more” than what had been sent to them.

NHS doctors on the front lines have raised the alarm over shortages of PPE, which, according to insiders, has been allowed to dwindle in numbers in recent years.

Mr. Gove’s remarks were dismissed by Jon Ashworth of Labor as “perhaps the weakest rebuttal from a detailed account of British political history”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gove raised hopes of a quick return for Mr. Johnson.

He said the Prime Minister is already “absolutely aware of things” as he recovers from Checkers after his fear of the coronavirus.

Sources last week told MailOnline that Johnson is anxious to return to Downing Street this week when Parliament returns from the Easter holidays, but pregnant fiance Carrie Symond and doctors fear it is too soon .

However, he gave orders to the First Secretary of State Dominic Raab, who replaces him.

Friday, Johnson had a three-hour meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs with chief counselor Dominic Cummings and director of communications Lee Cain..

“The Prime Minister is recovering well,” Gove told Sky News.

“And, he had the opportunity to speak to Dominic Raab, his deputy, the first secretary of state, on Friday.

“And the Prime Minister’s instructions to the rest of us in government were communicated by the First Secretary of State during a conference call yesterday morning. “

Insiders pointed out that despite pressure from the NHS, 2,700 intensive care beds were empty last week, and scientists now believe that the reproductive rate – the “R” number – for the virus has fallen in below one in the community, which means its prevalence is decreasing.

Ministers such as Chancellor Rishi Sunak are increasingly alarmed by the blow to the economy, the OBR watchdog warning that GDP could fall by a third with millions of jobs lost.

However, Secretary of Health Matt Hancock is said to be among senior officials keen to release the handbrake before the government is certain there will be no devastating second peak in the cases.

“The debate is now between the people who think we should get rid of the virus completely and the people who think we should run things hot, use the NHS reserve capacity and aim to keep the R number just below one Said an official on Sunday. Times.

Another senior insider said, “You have to be clear. Running hot means more people are at risk of dying. This is the decision that the Prime Minister will have to make. “

Gove said this morning that although the coronavirus cases appear to have “flattened”, scientists were not yet convinced that the peak had passed and that it was safe to make changes. “It is quite understandable, of course, that there should be a public debate on how we approach these difficult choices,” he said.

“But the most important thing to do is to make sure that we are doing it in a science-led way. “

It has been estimated that the economic consequences of the closure and the austerity that will follow the government’s huge bailouts for businesses and workers could cause tens of thousands of deaths and leave more than a million people ill. long-term.

Infectious disease expert Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the government’s Scientific Emergency Advisory Panel (Sage), said the lockup “cannot last longer” because it “damages our whole life”.

He suggested that the measures could begin to be lifted in about three or four weeks if the number of infections and hospital patients “dramatically” decreases.

The director of the Wellcome Trust told Sky News, “I hope they arrive in three to four weeks because it is clear that the lockout cannot last longer.

“The damage it does to our health and well-being, to our mental health… foreclosure is detrimental to business and, ultimately, to all of our lives.

“So the blockages can’t go on forever, we have to lift them as soon as possible, but we can’t lift them too early and we can’t just set arbitrary dates.

“It has to be data driven.”

Sir Jeremy added that he believed the UK had passed the peak of the “first wave” of the virus – but warned that it would return.

“We shouldn’t see this as a low-key episode. I think the probability of what we need to plan for is that there will be new waves in the future.

“But for this first wave, I think the number of new infections leveled off maybe a week or two ago, the number of hospitalizations about a week ago … we probably just passed the peak in many parts of the country, as is true in many parts of the world.

Angel Gurria, head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, told Marr that the damage to the economy was likely to be short term and that the government was doing the right thing by taking drastic measures to control epidemics.

He warned that loosening the lock would be “a trial and error.” “What I also see is maybe a stop and go process, where you have stable numbers on contagion and hospital admissions and even deaths and you start to open gradually and then there there may be a return to higher numbers and then you stop again, ‘he said.

Cabinet Minister MIchael Gove tried to curb unbridled speculation about the loosening of restrictions this morning, saying it was

Cabinet Minister MIchael Gove tried to curb unbridled speculation about the loosening of restrictions this morning, saying it was “entirely understandable” that people want to know how to get out, it was too early to take such decisions.

“It is not a science. It will mainly be a trial and error.

“It is perfectly legitimate for people to want to reopen, of course, we all want to go out, we all want to work, we all want to do what we do every day. However, the cost can be very high if you get it wrong, so let’s be cautious.

Williamson unveiled a plan this evening to provide disadvantaged children across England with free laptops and tablets to help them learn from home during the lockdown.

This decision is part of a desire to make distance education accessible to students while their schools are closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time, a new online academy is also launched to provide students with 180 online lessons per week.

Williamson said 4G routers will also be provided to ensure that disadvantaged high school students and caregivers can access the Internet where these families do not yet have mobile or broadband Internet.

The Oak National Academy will launch on Monday after being created by 40 teachers from some of the best schools in England in less than a fortnight.

Its 180 video lessons per week will cover a wide range of subjects, including math, arts and languages, for students aged from reception to grade 10.

Sources last week told MailOnline that Johnson is anxious to return to Downing Street this week when Parliament returns from the Easter holidays, but pregnant fiance Carrie Symond and doctors fear it is too soon .

He has given orders to the First Secretary of State Dominic Raab, who replaces him.

Row: Prince Harry says UK coronavirus crisis is “better than we think” media reports say

Prince Harry sparked fury by claiming that the British Covid-19 crisis is not as bad as the public says.

In an interview with the Declassifed podcast, the 35-year-old said that things here are “better than we are led to believe in some corners of the media.”

But his comments were described as “scandalous” by Professor Karol Sikora, expert, who asked: “What are his qualifications to make these comments – apart from deserting his country in its hour of need?

Harry, who is currently with his wife Meghan, 38, in Los Angeles, also congratulated Captain Tom Moore, 99, who raised £ 23 million for the NHS.

Prince Harry unleashed fury by claiming that the British Covid-19 crisis is not as bad as the public says. Pictured: Harry and Meghan were seen tying arms and holding hands as they delivered packages to residents in the back of their Cadillac XT5 in LA this week

Prince Harry sparked fury by claiming that the British Covid-19 crisis is not as bad as the public says. Pictured: Harry and Meghan were seen tying arms and holding hands as they delivered packages to residents in the back of their Cadillac XT5 in LA this week

Speaking on the podcast, he said, “I think what has happened in particular in the UK is the best of the human spirit and it proves that things are going better than what we are led to believe through certain corners of the media.

“Certainly when you are isolated it can be very worrisome when you are sitting there and the only information you get is from certain news channels, but if you are outside and on the right platforms you can really feel this human spirit coming to the fore.

Professor Sikora, who has run antibody tests and is a former No10 advisor, told The Sun: “I think these remarks are outrageous.

“As for the media, I really don’t understand what Harry’s beef is. Journalists reported the facts and did an excellent job of holding the government to account.

“The media also defended the NHS and became a key ally for doctors, nurses and key workers. They should be applauded, not vilified.

Nadra Ahmed of the National Care Association suggested that Prince Harry “has not seen all the evidence”.

She revealed that the health and care staff were suffering from mental distress, adding, “Some of the things I have heard are heartbreaking. “

Friday, Johnson had a three-hour meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs with chief adviser Dominic Cummings and director of communications Lee Cain, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Gove said he hoped the Prime Minister would return soon, saying he was “in a good mood” and “absolutely on top of it.” “The Prime Minister is recovering well,” said Gove. “And, he had the opportunity to speak to Dominic Raab, his deputy, the first secretary of state, on Friday.

“And the Prime Minister’s instructions to the rest of us in government were communicated by the First Secretary of State during a conference call yesterday morning. “

It comes after the announcement of 888 additional coronavirus deaths in the UK yesterday, bringing the total to 15,464.

It is not yet known when the Prime Minister will resume full office, but a source told The Sun: “It would not surprise me if he was back before the end of next week. Everyone knows that it is the key to selling the end of the foreclosure to voters.

“It is the biggest decision he will ever make and he knows the implications are vast for millions of families. There is no way he is on the sidelines.

A number 10 spokesperson said, “The Prime Minister has led the answer to this question, providing leadership during this extremely difficult time for the whole nation. “

However, Mr. Johnson will return to a growing reaction to his handling of the early stages of the crisis.

He is personally criticized for failing to attend five Cobra meetings on the disease, saying the government missed a series of opportunities to try to reduce the impact in February and March.

A Downing Street adviser told the Sunday Times, “There is no way you can be at war if your PM is not there.

“And what you learn about Boris is that he has not chaired any meeting. He loved his country vacation. He did not work on weekends.

“It was like working for a former general manager in a local community 20 years ago. There was a real feeling that he had not planned the crisis urgently. It was exactly as people feared.

The accusations drew a strong reaction from Mr. Gove, who qualified allegations that the Prime Minister neglected the “grotesque” dangers.

He admitted that the United Kingdom had sent a shipment of PPE to China at the start of the crisis, but insisted that it did not come from the base stock of the pandemic and that many more had been received.

“PPE was not part of our pandemic stock,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr. “We have received much more from China than we have given. “

In yet another embarrassment, it emerged that a shipment of PPE from Turkey would not arrive today, as housing secretary Robert Jenrick touted last night.

Jenrick said the “very large batch” – comprising essentially 400,000 dresses – was on the way after fury that NHS personnel were asked to reuse protective equipment.

However, the 84-tonne load should not be here today, with logistical problems on the Turkish side.

A No10 spokesperson said, “The government is working around the clock to fight the coronavirus, offering a strategy designed at all times to protect our NHS and save lives.”

“Guided by medical and scientific expertise, we have put in place specific measures to reduce the spread of the virus when they are most effective.

“Our response assured that the NHS has received all the support necessary to ensure that everyone in need of treatment receives it, as well as to protect businesses and reassure workers.”

However, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the board of the British Medical Association, noted fears that the speed of the reaction would have left NHS staff without PPE.

He told Sky News that the BMA wrote to the government two weeks ago asking for a massive acceleration in the production of protective equipment.

No “certainty” that a coronavirus vaccine can be produced, warns a top scientist

It is not “completely certain” that a vaccine against coronaviruses can be produced, one of the scientists leading the effort today warned.

The cautionary note from Professor Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, came as Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said people should not assume that such treatment was a “dead certificate”.

Professor Gilbert told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, “This is why we have to experiment to find out. The outlook is very good, but it is clearly not entirely certain. “

Professor Gilbert said his team has yet to vaccinate anyone, but hopes to start clinical trials by the end of next week.

“We are waiting for the final safety tests on the vaccine and for final approvals to be granted.”

In the meantime, permission has been granted to recruit volunteers, do blood tests, explain the process and check their health, she said.

“By the time we have all the vaccine approvals ready, we should have a good pool of volunteers to draw from and we should be able to get started fairly quickly.” “

Speaking about the same program, Gove said vaccines have never been developed for a number of diseases.

“I don’t think that’s the case if someone has to automatically assume that a vaccine is a dead certificate coming soon,” he said.

He said that a large number of contacts were willing to produce materials and that the names of about 70 of them had been released to the government.

But Dr. Nagpaul said the contacts “hit a brick wall” after they were not followed.

He told Sky News, “We made it clear a few weeks ago that we need to do something to reduce the likelihood of a lack of protective gear.

He added: “What is even more stressful now is that doctors and other health professionals are treating their own colleagues in intensive care with respirators and tragically see some of them not surviving.

“It’s extremely emotional, and it has implications for health workers.”

Alors que les ministres se bousculent pour prendre le dessus, l’ancien chef des Jeux olympiques, Lord Deighton, a été désigné pour diriger un groupe de travail chargé de produire les EPI nécessaires à la distribution dans tout le pays.

Le Premier ministre a précédemment décrit Lord Deighton comme un «superbe» cadre après avoir aidé à organiser les Jeux olympiques de 2012 alors que M. Johnson était maire de Londres.

S’exprimant sur sa nomination, Lord Deighton a déclaré: «Les pays du monde entier font face à une demande sans précédent d’équipements de protection individuelle et cela nécessite une réponse de la fabrication nationale tout aussi sans précédent.

« Cet effort nécessite un travail d’équipe exceptionnel et je suis convaincu que nous, ensemble, relèverons ce défi. “

Michael Gove est également en train de mettre en place une nouvelle unité pour conseiller les hauts ministres sur les impacts économiques et sociaux généralisés du verrouillage afin d’aider à orienter une éventuelle stratégie de sortie.

Il survient après qu’une grande coalition des plus hautes personnalités politiques et commerciales du pays ait appelé le gouvernement à lever les volets des rues désertes de Grande-Bretagne et à tracer un itinéraire pour sortir de l’éclosion paralysante de Covid-19.

Les anciens ministres du Cabinet David Davis et Iain Duncan Smith ont uni leurs forces avec le chef du parti travailliste Sir Keir Starmer et les patrons de la ville pour avertir que l’absence d’une stratégie de sortie claire pourrait causer des dommages durables à l’économie britannique.

Les autorités élaborent actuellement un plan en trois étapes de «  feux de signalisation  » qui verrait certaines entreprises telles que les magasins de bricolage et les jardineries, et certains enfants retourneraient à l’école, dès la semaine commençant le 11 mai.

On craignait de plus en plus que l’absence de Boris Johnson de Downing Street n’entrave les plans de sortie malgré les signes que l’épidémie avait atteint son apogée.

En réponse aux affirmations d’un vide du pouvoir, le numéro 10 a déclaré qu’un «  quad  » de ministres clés – le secrétaire à la Santé Matt Hancock, le ministre des Affaires étrangères Dominic Raab, le chancelier Rishi Sunak et le ministre du Cabinet Michael Gove – se réunissait tous les jours de la semaine à 18 heures pour décider de la stratégie.

Les craintes selon lesquelles les ministres cruciaux des expéditions d’EPI ont annoncé leur arrivée AUJOURD’HUI sont retardées – les hôpitaux prévenant qu’ils pourraient s’épuiser ce soir

Un envoi crucial de 400 000 robes pour le NHS, que les ministres ont promis d’arriver aujourd’hui, a été retardé.

Le secrétaire au Logement, Robert Jenrick, a annoncé hier soir que 84 tonnes d’équipements de protection individuelle (EPI) provenaient de Turquie alors que certains hôpitaux étaient sur le point de s’épuiser.

Mais le calendrier a été repoussé, bien que la RAF soit apparemment prête à le transporter par avion immédiatement.

Cela survient après que certains dirigeants syndicaux ont averti que la confiance dans le secrétaire à la Santé, Matt Hancock, s’épuisait au milieu du scandale des EPI – certains hôpitaux craignant que les fournitures d’EPI ne s’épuisent d’ici la fin du week-end.

M. Hancock a nommé un «tsar PPE» pour répondre à la pénurie de fournitures dans les trusts du NHS au Royaume-Uni.

Lord Deighton, 64 ans, a été nommé pour maîtriser la situation, alors que des milliers de médecins et d’infirmières à travers le pays sont contraints de travailler sans l’EPI approprié.

Hier, le secrétaire au Logement, Robert Jenrick, a déclaré lors de la conférence de presse quotidienne que le Premier ministre, M. Johnson, « se reposait et récupérait chez Checkers » et « suivait les conseils de son médecin ».

M. Jenrick a ajouté: « Il a eu des contacts avec des ministres mais surtout avec son bureau privé ici à Downing Street. “

La mort de 888 personnes supplémentaires a été annoncée hier au Royaume-Uni, ce qui porte le total à 15 464, mais le nombre de patients hospitalisés atteints du virus a chuté de 952 à 17 759, ce qui laisse espérer que les taux d’infection ont atteint un plateau.

Dans le cadre de la première phase «rouge» du plan «feux tricolores», des entreprises telles que les jardineries et les coiffeurs pourraient rouvrir, sous réserve de strictes distanciations sociales.

Environ un cinquième des enfants retourneraient également à l’école dans le cadre d’un retour progressif, bien que les fonctionnaires soient divisés sur l’opportunité d’accorder la priorité en fonction des groupes d’âge, de la profession des parents ou de la région.

La phase «ambre» – probablement en juin ou juillet – verrait les restaurants ouverts à condition que les tables soient suffisamment éloignées. La plupart des enfants et des employés de bureau quitteraient également l’isolement.

Le moment de la phase «  verte  » – un retour complet à la normalité, y compris l’ouverture des pubs et les grands événements – dépendrait du développement de tests généralisés pour Covid-19 et de niveaux systématiquement faibles d’infections et de décès.

Les personnes âgées et vulnérables resteraient «protégées» jusqu’à ce qu’un vaccin soit disponible, peut-être jusqu’à 18 mois.

Le député conservateur David Davis lors d'une deuxième lecture du projet de loi sur les coronavirus à la Chambre des communes. Il a uni ses forces avec Sir Keir Starmer et les patrons de la ville pour avertir que l'absence d'une stratégie de sortie claire pourrait causer des dommages économiques durables

Le député conservateur David Davis lors d’une deuxième lecture du projet de loi sur les coronavirus à la Chambre des communes. Il a uni ses forces avec Sir Keir Starmer et les patrons de la ville pour avertir que l’absence d’une stratégie de sortie claire pourrait causer des dommages économiques durables

Le leader travailliste Sir Starmer et son épouse Victoria participent à la campagne nationale `` Clap our Carers '' pour remercier le travail des travailleurs du NHS britannique et du personnel médical de première ligne à travers le pays alors qu'ils luttent contre la pandémie de coronavirus

Le leader travailliste Sir Starmer et son épouse Victoria participent à la campagne nationale «  Clap our Carers  » pour remercier le travail des travailleurs du NHS britannique et du personnel médical de première ligne à travers le pays alors qu’ils luttent contre la pandémie de coronavirus

Mais à la frustration des «faucons» dirigés par M. Sunak, les «colombes» du Cabinet dirigées par M. Hancock hésitent à signaler la fin du verrouillage alors que les taux d’infection sont toujours élevés.

Dans un article paru dans The Mail dimanche dernier, l’ancien secrétaire du Brexit, M. Davis, a déclaré qu’il était « désormais essentiel de freiner l’économie ».

Ses remarques font suite à de terribles prédictions selon lesquelles l’économie britannique pourrait se contracter jusqu’à un tiers si le verrouillage complet durait trois mois, entraînant une montée du chômage et des faillites. Les vues de M. Davis ont été reprises par l’ancien chef conservateur Iain Duncan Smith qui a exhorté les ministres à cesser de «  fréquenter  » le public et à expliquer leurs plans pour redémarrer l’économie et qu ‘«  il y a de la vie après le verrouillage’ ‘.

Pendant ce temps, le chef du parti travailliste, Sir Keir Starmer – écrit également dans ce journal – déclare: «Ce n’est pas le moment de lever les restrictions. Mais nous devons savoir clairement ce qui va se passer ensuite. » Les responsables politiques ont été rejoints par des patrons du commerce de détail, dont Julian Dunkerton, le fondateur de la marque de vêtements Superdry, et l’économiste Gerard Lyons, qui ont déclaré: «  Après la prolongation actuelle de trois semaines, il devrait y avoir un déverrouillage progressif de l’économie  ».

Un porte-parole du Cabinet Office a déclaré: «Nous avons toujours été guidés par des avis scientifiques. L’avis actuel est que l’assouplissement de toute mesure pourrait nuire à la santé publique, à notre économie et aux sacrifices que nous avons tous consentis. Ce n’est que lorsque les preuves suggèrent qu’il est sûr de le faire que nous ajusterons ces mesures.

Les gens du shopping à la gamme à Plymouth. Dans le cadre de la première phase «rouge» du plan «feux tricolores», des entreprises telles que les jardineries et les coiffeurs pourraient rouvrir, sous réserve de strictes distanciations sociales.

Les gens du shopping à la gamme à Plymouth. Dans le cadre de la première phase «rouge» du plan «feux tricolores», des entreprises telles que les jardineries et les coiffeurs pourraient rouvrir, sous réserve de strictes distanciations sociales

Call to open garden centres to avoid destroying £200m of seasonal plants

By Helen Cahill, City correspondent for the Mail on Sunday

Britain’s garden centres could reopen almost immediately – with strict social distancing rules – under proposals being considered by Ministers.

Businesses have warned that £200million-worth of seasonal plants will be destroyed if centres are forced to stay closed until June.

That would mean an overall loss of £1.6billion due to the lockdown, so the industry has devised a rescue plan which it sent to officials two weeks ago.

It details how the UK’s 2,000 garden centres could open their doors for the rest of the crucial spring and summer season without putting customers and staff at risk. The three month period between April and June is the equivalent of Christmas for the horticulture industry.

Ready to sell: Plants waiting for gardeners at a centre in Essex. Businesses have warned that £200 million-worth of seasonal plants will be destroyed if centres are forced to stay closed until June

Ready to sell: Plants waiting for gardeners at a centre in Essex. Businesses have warned that £200 million-worth of seasonal plants will be destroyed if centres are forced to stay closed until June

Garden centre bosses insist they could shift stock quickly and start paying suppliers if the Government approves the new arrangements, which would allow the public to buy plants, essential gardening equipment and pet care products that are being sold elsewhere in stores that stayed open.

Restaurants, cafes and areas selling non-plant products in the complexes would remain closed.

Under the plans, customers would only be able to use car parks in limited numbers, with an empty space left between each parked vehicle.

Entry to the centres would be strictly controlled, with one-way walking, one customer for every 1,000 sq ft of floor space and tape marks on the floor to enforce social distancing. Perspex screens would protect staff and trolleys would be disinfected regularly.

Sarah Squire, chairman of major chain Squires, said: ‘The timing could not be worse for our sector. It’s all about the spring for us, and if we can catch a little bit of that, it would make a very big difference.

‘We make 40 per cent of our annual takings from the middle of March to the end of June. So you don’t need a degree in economics to know that for the rest of the year it will be difficult for us.

‘You need to make your profits in the spring to carry the business through the rest of the year.’

Simon Burke, chairman of the country’s second-largest garden chain, Blue Diamond, said: ‘If the summer bedding plants aren’t sold between now and the end of June, they are dead.

‘Obviously there is absolutely no room for compromise on safety. But garden centres are large spaces so customers could come in and keep their distance, much more so than they would in an average food store, where the aisles are not very wide.’

Boyd Douglas Davies, president of the Horticultural Trade Association, warned that unless action was taken promptly, millions of plants would be heading towards compost heaps instead of gardens.

He added: ‘This is a quick and easy way for the Government to give something back to the public. If you’re asking them to stay at home for a long time, give them something to do in their garden.’

A sign in front of closed gates at Squire's Garden Centre in Farnham, Surrey, during the lockdown. Garden centre bosses insist they could shift stock quickly and start paying suppliers if the Government approves the new arrangements (file photo)

A sign in front of closed gates at Squire’s Garden Centre in Farnham, Surrey, during the lockdown. Garden centre bosses insist they could shift stock quickly and start paying suppliers if the Government approves the new arrangements (file photo)

The garden centres have missed out on much of the sales they would normally generate from spring plants but bosses are hopeful that they could avoid more serious financial pain if they are allowed to offload stocks of summer plants.

It is thought that independent nurseries that supply the larger stores could be worst hit, as some of them make up to 80 per cent of their yearly sales at this time.

In signs of a Government strategy shift, B&Q has been allowed to open 14 stores to trial new social distancing measures. Since the lockdown, DIY stores have been allowed only to sell items for emergency repairs through click and collect services.

They have been told to narrow their ranges to stop shoppers from buying items that could let them start a home improvement project or any home decoration.

Shoppers order online and drive to stores, where supplies are loaded into the boot of the car by staff.

But industry representatives said the rules should be relaxed so shoppers could start projects without fear of judgment.

Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of the British Independent Retail Association, said: ‘We do know from our members who run hardware stores that there has been a huge demand for DIY products, especially paint, and most of them have chosen to stay open.

‘There is a sense that if you are asking people to stay at home and don’t want them to go stir crazy, then they should be allowed to do something in the house whether it’s DIY, painting or gardening.

‘Some of our members are taking to delivering their stock and people are very happy to receive stuff at home. It helps lift the national spirit to have something to do.’

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said last night that the Government ‘would keep the policy under review and guidance will be updated as required’.

When this is over, we must give our most vulnerable the dignity they deserve – AND reward the heroes who give them such devoted care

By Sir Keir Starmer for the Mail on Sunday

Two weeks ago, when I was elected Labour leader, I made a promise to the British people that under my leadership my party will act in the national interest, help steer us through these difficult times and strive for the good of our country. I meant it.

The coronavirus pandemic is the biggest challenge we have faced in a generation. It is a health crisis, an economic crisis and – for many – a personal crisis. Behind every death is a family that has been shaken to its core.

At this time of national crisis, Labour’s duty – my duty – is to support the national effort to save lives and protect livelihoods.

That’s why I supported the Government’s decision to introduce the lockdown and why I backed last week’s decision to extend it for another three weeks.

The lockdown is extremely difficult for all of us. There is no doubt about that. But it is necessary to defeat the coronavirus and the Government can be assured of my support on that.

Equally, my duty is to call the Government out when I believe mistakes are being made, when decisions are being taken too slowly or when the most vulnerable are not being heard. The purpose of this challenge is not to score party political points but to ensure mistakes are rectified and progress is speeded up.

In that spirit, we all have to accept mistakes have been made. I fully accept that any government would find this situation challenging. But the Government was too slow to enter the lockdown. It was too slow to increase the number of people tested. It has been too slow to get essential equipment from NHS staff to keep them safe.

We must make sure that these mistakes do not repeat themselves.

And this week has exposed how the Government has been too slow to respond to the growing emergency in our social care services.

We have all heard the harrowing stories of the virus spreading through care homes, relatives unable to say their last goodbyes and staff poorly paid, equipped and protected to provide essential care. Ministers have promised action – that is welcome – but it needs to go further and faster.

First, our carers need to be kept safe. We have all been struck by the extraordinary service and dedication of our key workers during this pandemic. They are the best of us. These are people who are quite literally putting their lives on the line to care for our loved ones. But too many of them are being left exposed because of shortages of personal protection equipment (PPE).

The Government says it is doing everything it can to supply equipment. I do not doubt its sincerity. However, there is a mismatch between the statements coming out of Downing Street and the realities for staff on the ground. That needs to come to an end, and fast.

Second, we need more information. The crisis in our care homes has gone unheard for too long, in part because we do not know the full scale of the problem. That is why we urgently need Ministers to publish daily figures on the number of deaths in care homes. That is the only way we are going to know who has fallen victim to the virus, how fast it is spreading and the scale of response that is needed.

Third, testing, testing and more testing. Matt Hancock’s announcement that all care home residents and staff with symptoms would be tested is welcome.

But many of us will be asking why on earth was this not done sooner? A council leader I spoke to last week told me that of its 5,000 social care workers, only ten had been tested. That is astonishing.

As other countries have proven, testing is a vital weapon in our armoury to contain the infection and it will be central to any strategy to lift the lockdown.

Ministers promised 25,000 tests a day by mid-April, but that target was missed. Now they are promising 100,000 by the end of the month. They are unlikely to meet that target.

Many care homes are feeling overwhelmed, particularly those with an outbreak of the virus. I have spoken to care workers who are concerned about looking after coronavirus patients who have been discharged from hospital, because of the infection risk. The Government should ensure that where there is capacity at the new NHS Nightingale hospitals, it is made available for those who need it most, including care home residents.

Finally, we need a clear plan for what comes next.

The lockdown has been extended and I support that. But we need to have clarity about what is going to happen next.

Other countries have begun to set out a roadmap to lift restrictions in certain sectors of the economy and for certain services, especially social care, when the time is right. Of course, this must be done in a careful and thoughtful manner, with public health, scientific evidence and the safety of workers and families at heart. But the UK Government should be doing likewise.

We also need to make the case for a better, fairer society. Every week, we stand at our doorsteps to clap for our carers. We do so with pride, gratitude and a deep sense of national unity and purpose.

But, when we get through this – and we will get through this – we cannot return to business as usual. For too long, social care has been neglected. Our care workers left underpaid and undervalued. Our relatives denied the dignity they deserve at the end of their life.

We need a new settlement for social care. We can’t have another decade of this being thought ‘too difficult’ for politicians to solve.

We must go forward with the ambition and determination for a better society that puts dignity and respect at the heart of how we care for the most vulnerable – and how we properly reward our key workers and those who work in our public services.

That is how we can repay the debt we owe to all of those who have sacrificed so much during this crisis. That is how we can rebuild the better society the British people deserve. That is what I am determined to deliver.

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