KEY POINTS

  • UK Prime Minister is the fiercest foe of coronavirus
  • Mr. Johnson has announced the imposition of a UK-wide lockdown
  • How long will the lockdown last?

In only 24 hours, the COVID-19 death toll in the UK increased by 87, bringing the total number of deaths to 422. So far, this is the biggest single-day rise in the country as the government prepares to meet the problem head-on. Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson enacted its strictest measure yet to deal with the snowballing crisis, which is a UK-wide lockdown.

Departing from his usual tone, Mr. Johnson has outlined the specifics of the lockdown and asked everyone to stay indoors. They are to leave their houses only on four valid grounds. The first is if the resident is going out to shop for basic necessities like food and medicine, though such an errand must be as infrequent as possible.

Medical And Work Reasons

Residents are also allowed to go out of their homes if they are doing so for their own personal medical needs. They can also go out if they are providing medical care or helping a vulnerable person on a shopping errand or medical need. The Prime Minister has reminded everyone that only these two medical reasons are considered valid.

For those with work that cannot be done from home, they are permitted to leave their residences for travel to and from work. They have to make sure, however, that such work absolutely cannot be done within the confines of their homes.

Social And Economic Impact

The government is aware that these policies will deal a huge blow to the businesses and livelihoods of people. It is further aggravated by the uncertainty as to when this policy will be relaxed or withdrawn. According to Dr. Richard Horton, however, the UK-wide lockdown may not last as long as most fear.

Dr. Horton is a leading physician in the UK and the editor of The Lancet, a scientific journal. He said that there are grounds for optimism, recalling research he saw suggesting the restrictions may not be needed until a vaccine is found. The significant drop in reported cases in China, where daily life is beginning to have some degree of normalcy, suggests strict measures are not going to become the new norm.

In an interview, Dr. Horton expressed his belief that in the next month or so, there will be a path that will allow for the lifting of the restrictions. He said there is no reason why the country will come face to face with a second wave of the outbreak.

Dr. Horton also said that UK health experts are using data from other research teams in various countries that endured the outbreak. UK policymakers will be using the experiences of these teams to eventually lift the restrictions that have been put in place. He added that maybe these restrictions would be imposed anywhere between two and three months, after which a gradually phased relaxation will then occur.