Video report by Paul Brand, political correspondent for ITV News
The risk of a second peak of coronavirus will increase “sharply” if people do not follow the guidelines when the pubs reopen this weekend, warned the chief medical officer.
Echoing the Prime Minister’s warnings, Chris Whitty said that Covid-19 was going to be in the UK for “very, very long.”
As such, Boris Johnson warned that local blockades will be a “hallmark of our life for some time to come” as he urged people to act responsibly when the hotel industry first opens times in three months.
He said the UK should “move from general national measures to targeted local measures”.
“Instead of locking the whole country, we will lock specific premises or local areas where the virus spreads.”
He urged advertising enthusiasts to exercise discretion when the hotel industry reopens this weekend and warned that the industry could easily face a second shutdown if people’s behavior resulted in a second peak in coronavirus prevalence.
He said the government had “all kinds of measures in reserve” in the event of a second wave of Covid-19 infections, but said another national blockade would be “the response of last resort”.
The Prime Minister encouraged people to take advantage of additional freedoms this weekend by going to “local restaurants, hairdressers, libraries, museums, cinemas and, yes, pubs” to support businesses.
But he said that the “success of these companies” depends on “each of us acting responsibly”.
He said the ministers would establish timetables for the return of other sectors of the economy next week, including indoor gymnasiums, nail bars and swimming pools.
But he warned “the virus is still with us” and “we are not out of the woods yet”.“If he starts to lose control again, the government will not hesitate to brake and re-impose restrictions,” he said.
Johnson said the government had learned from local closings already implemented in regions such as Weston-Super-Mare and Kirklees in order to develop an approach to control future local epidemics.
He said there were five main components: “monitoring, engagement, testing, targeted restrictions, and finally, as a last resort, foreclosure.”
He highlighted the “heroic effort” that companies have made to “prepare their sites” for secure commerce and asked people to “not let them down”.
“We must not let them down,” he said, “in the end, the economic health of the whole country depends on each of us acting responsibly.”
“Just like when we closed for the first time, we will only be able to reopen if everyone works together. “