The government has been so successful in convincing people of the need to stay at home that it is difficult to convince them that it is safe to return to work once the decision is made to relax the current restrictions.
Dominic Raab, the acting prime minister, said on Monday that the lockdown would remain in place beyond a legally required review on Thursday, but said there were “positive signs” that Britain ” was starting to win this fight. “
Cabinet members are urged to announce that the lockout will be reviewed next week – rather than next month – to signal that the lifting of certain restrictions is under consideration.
Spain and Italy, the two most affected countries in Europe, must begin to loosen their own restrictions to revive their economies, adding to pressure from the government for Britain to follow suit as soon as possible possible.
However, high-level sources have stated that before the lock can be relaxed, the public must first be convinced that it is the right thing to do, in the same way that they have accepted the need to ” impose social distancing.
“The timing will therefore be dictated as much by public attitudes as by science, otherwise it will not work.
“We have to take the public with us, undoing social distancing measures rather than stopping them suddenly, and it is up to us to do so. “
Boris Johnson, who left hospital on Sunday after the virus let him fight for his life, is expected to make the final decision on when to end the lockdown, but is not currently working on government affairs on the advice from his doctors.
On Monday, he was good enough to join his fiancee Carrie Symonds for a walk in the Prime Minister’s retirement park, Checkers, with their dog Dilyn and exchanged text messages with supporters, including members of the Cabinet.
An official decision on whether to change the lockout will be made by ministers after being updated by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which meets on Tuesday.
The death toll rose by 717 on Monday, bringing the UK total to 11,329, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs said: “We have not yet passed the peak of this virus … we have a long way to go to browse. “
Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, said the lockdown would only be eased when Britain was “firmly on the other side” of a death spike.
However, both the number of deaths per day and the number of new cases fell for the third consecutive day, prompting Mr. Raab to say, “Amidst this sobering number of deaths, there are also has positive signs from the data that we are starting to win this fight. A YouGov survey found that more than four in ten people think the lockout should be increased, and only one in 20 think it is too harsh.
The ministers admit that the public is now afraid of what will happen when the foreclosure is lifted and have abandoned any discussion of an “exit strategy” as it implies the sudden end of the restrictions.
Raab chose the words “relaxation” and “transition” when asked about the end of the lockup on Monday.
“You don’t quit viruses. This has not happened in all of human history. They are staying, so let’s take a very close look at what is going on in the other countries that are ahead of us in the curve when they start to lift their own restrictions. “
The government is increasingly alarmed by the financial cost of the closure, with many more businesses closing their doors than expected and many more workers being laid off or losing their jobs. One estimate suggests that government job retention programs currently cost billions of pounds a week.
Cabinet ministers have been tasked with presenting evidence this week of how the foreclosure will affect the economy, the NHS, the welfare state and other sectors over time.
A source in the Treasury said growing attention in government is to ensure that the public “gets back to work” when the lockout is gradually lifted, warning that each week is a severe blow to the economy.
The source said, “And if they [the workers] say they don’t want to come back because they’re so afraid of getting the disease and passing it on to elderly parents? “
For now, however, the official government’s council remains to stay at home, and Raab thanked the public for resisting the temptation to take advantage of the Easter weekend weather.
He said, “I have to say that at the end of last week, we were concerned that people would start ignoring advice or saving money, given the temptation to go out in the sun.
“In fact, the vast majority of people stayed at home and understood the importance of doing so. People should have no doubt that by staying at home this weekend, you have saved lives. “