“Schools could start returning within three weeks under a ‘traffic light’ plan being pushed by senior ministers to ease lockdown misery – amid Cabinet splits over whether the government should risk more deaths from the disease to save the plunging economy.”
“Over-70s face a ‘red light’ for many months more, potentially having to wait for a vaccine before going back to normal life.”
Overall, just under a quarter (22.6%) of the population of East Devon is aged 70+, but in some areas of Sidmouth it’s more like a half (49.9). Good ONS interactive map of where over 70s live can be found here.
James Tapsfield www.dailymail.co.uk
Schools could start returning within three weeks under a ‘traffic light’ plan being pushed by senior ministers to ease lockdown misery – amid Cabinet splits over whether the government should risk more deaths from the disease to save the plunging economy.
The fledgling ‘exit strategy’ would see the country get back up in running in stages after May 11, with primary, GCSE pupils, and nurseries potentially going back part-time.
Meanwhile, clothes shops and garden centres could be among the ‘non-essential’ stores given a ‘green light’ to reopen with precautions to protect customers. Rail services would be brought up to normal levels, with commuters probably urged to wear facemasks, and the NHS would resume carrying out non-urgent procedures.
A second ‘amber’ stage later in the summer would see more of the economy revived, with all employees told to go back to work and some social gatherings allowed.
However, it might not be until later in the year that pubs and restaurants can reopen and sporting events get up and running. And over-70s face a ‘red light’ for many months more, potentially having to wait for a vaccine before going back to normal life.
The proposals are gaining traction amid a mounting backlash at the lack of a clear plan. Senior ministers are divided between those who want to ‘run hot’, using apparent spare capacity in the NHS to relax social distancing soon, and those who fear acting too early will allow the disease to run rampant, according to the Sunday Times.
After concerns about drift at the heart of power, Boris Johnson is gearing up to take back the reins of government, making calls to ministers from Chequers where he is recuperating from his own health scare with the disease.
Cabinet minister MIchael Gove tried to dampen down frenzied speculation over loosening of restrictions this morning, saying while it was ‘entirely understandable’ people want to know the way out it was too early to make such decisions.
Asked if the ‘traffic light’ system was the government’s ‘exit strategy’, Mr Gove told Sky News: ‘No it’s not. It is the case that we are looking at all the evidence. But we have set some tests that must be passed before we can even think about easing the lockdown.’
Although he stressed no decisions had been taken, Mr Gove did hint at the shape of an easing, suggesting pubs and other parts of the hospitality industry will be ‘among the last’ to come back.