The hints are dropping with greater frequency. My Member of Parliament writes to tell me that:
The Prime Minister has said today during Prime Ministers Questions that he will be setting out the next steps that the UK will take this coming Sunday. I await his comments with bated breath – as I am sure many others do.
I certainly have my breath bated! The note continues:
On the subject of tracing and tracking cases, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock said this yesterday:
“We are developing a new test, track and trace programme to help to control the spread of covid-19, and to be able to trace the virus better as it passes from person to person. This will bring together technology through an app, an extensive web of phone-based contract tracing and, of course, the testing needed to underpin all that. The roll-out has already started on the Isle of Wight, and I pay tribute to and thank the Islanders for the enthusiasm with which they have taken up the pilot. I hope that we learn a lot from the roll-out, so that we can take those learnings and roll the programme out across the whole country.”
He added that “…the more people who download the app, the more people will protect themselves, their families and their communities.”
Here’s a recording of this evening’s Covid-19 daily briefing in Downing Street, hosted on this occasion by Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government:
At 49:30 Keith Rossiter, representing the Western Morning News and Cornwall Live, asks some South West specific questions. One of his questions was:
Sir Patrick Vallance suggested on Tuesday that regions with fewer cases of Covid-19 could come out of lockdown early. How would that work and, if it were to be implemented, what support might there be for Devon and Cornwall Police – already over-stretched – to prevent a large scale invasion of the Westcountry?
We’re providing additional funding to forces and the Home Secretary is speaking with national police chiefs to ensure they have the right guidance and consistent messaging they can use to enforce the lockdown rules when that’s required. As we’ve seen so far the vast majority of members of the public have chosen to do so and adhere to the messaging and most police forces have been able to support the lockdown measures through consent which is the way we want to do things in this country but in the isolated number of cases when this has not been possible they’ve had tools at their disposal to fine and enforce the lockdown.
So no confirmation that easing of the UK lockdown will start in South West England, but no denial either. Whilst we wait for Sunday’s announcement, here’s what Sir Patrick Vallance had to say yesterday. According to Cornwall Live:
England’s chief scientific adviser has hinted that rural regions, such as the Westcountry, might have their Covid-19 lockdown eased sooner than big cities.
Sir Patrick Vallance told MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee that the disease was more prevalent in cities and densely populated places than in rural areas.
But he acknowledged that a regional approach would require the flow of people between regions to be controlled.
Last month former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is now chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, named Cornwall as an area that could have its restrictions lifted before the rest of the UK.
Does this retweet tell this morning’s horror story adequately?
Absolutely disastrous #Covid19UK framing courtesy of all the usual suspects.
Robust #TestTraceIsolate conspicuous only by its absence.
The forecast Rt?
— CoV eHealth (@cov_ehealth) May 7, 2020
Watch this space!