Britain’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, went on the Sunday morning talk shows to defend his government’s plan to unlock the lockdown in England, even as some top scientific advisers warn there may be too much loosening, too soon.
Britain, like most of Europe, is seeing plummeting hospital admissions and deaths due to the novel coronavirus, but the number of new infections — with symptoms and no symptoms — remains relatively robust.
Late last week, some top British scientists who advise the government warned that England might be moving too fast to relax strict measures to restart the economy — especially since Britain’s delayed “test, trace and isolate” system is only now being cranked up.
“I think at the moment, with relatively high incidence and relaxing the measures and also with an untested track and trace system, I think we are taking some risk here,” John Edmunds, a professor of infectious-disease modeling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the Guardian newspaper.
“We can’t just stay in lockdown forever. We have got to transition,” Raab told Sky News.
Over considerable resistance by parents and teachers, England will reopen classes in elementary schools on Monday. The government is also allowing barbecues and for six people from six different households to meet outdoors. The government has also announced that nonessential shops can open doors again on June 15.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Sky News that Prime Minister Boris Johnson may be taking England out of lockdown too quickly.
“This virus has not gone away,” she said. “That is why in Scotland we are moving very slowly.”
The various nations making up the United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — are all operating at different speeds to loosen strict measures to contain the contagion.