Britain should begin easing the lockdown from next Monday then reopen pubs and schools in May if there is no new large spike of coronavirus cases, a former World Health Organisation adviser has said.
Downing Street has been playing down suggestions of any easing of the lockdown measures put in place by the Prime Minister on March 23.
But Boris Johnson is thought to be assessing options on loosening some of the strict measures, which could include letting family and friends mix in ‘bubbles’ of 10 people rather than just households.
The government is under pressure to reveal its plans to leave the lockdown, but is fearful that revealing them now could give mixed messaging to the public and risk some people downplaying the seriousness of the situation.
The draft plans circulating amongst ministers suggest rubbish tips, recycling centres and garden centres could open within the next two weeks.
Professor Karol Sikora, a cancer specialist and former WHO adviser, has warned that thousands of people could die from the disease and heart issues if the lockdown continues for much longer.
Professor Karol Sikora, a cancer specialist and former WHO adviser, has warned that thousands of people could die from the disease and heart issues if the lockdown continues for much longer
The work going on behind the scenes indicates that garden centres, tips and other recycling centres will be open in the next two weeks
He told The Telegraph: ‘As long as we don’t see a second wave of the virus then we should plan for full operation by the end of May, including opening schools and even bars and pubs and with reduced social distancing.
‘I would be aggressive about it. If we don’t do that, more people will die from cancer and heart disease.’
Professor Sikora reiterated on BBC Breakfast this morning that ‘we’ve got to get going again” on cancer treatments in the health service to avoid a ‘catastrophe”.
He said: ‘The NHS has done fantastically well with Covid, now we have to come out of Covid mode, maintaining it, because we don’t quite know what’s going to happen, but let’s get started on two things that are critical: cancer services and heart services. ‘Those are the two key things we have to deal with urgently.’
Scientists continue to tread with caution about any significant changes to the lockdown measure for a fear of an even deadlier second spike of cases killing even more people, and leaving the NHS on its knees.
The work going on behind the scenes indicates that garden centres, tips and other recycling centres will be open in the next two weeks.
Lockdown adviser Professor Eyal Winter, of Lancaster University, said people were ‘starving’ for pubs which he described as ‘an important part of British culture’
A number of other ideas to help ease the lockdown have been mooted, such as shoppers and commuters wearing cloth masks.
The Department for Transport is looking at ways to get public transport moving again with social distancing in place.
Pubs could also reopen if landlords rationed beer to two or three pints per customer then asked them to go home to help with social distancing measures, it has been claimed.
Lockdown adviser Professor Eyal Winter, of Lancaster University, said people were ‘starving’ for pubs which he described as ‘an important part of British culture’.
Mr Winter, an economist advising politicians on how to ease the coronavirus restrictions, said social distancing would have to be enforced if pubs reopen.
A Whitehall source told The Telegraph: ‘The plan for masks will be more than a recommendation. It is more of a compulsion for them to be worn in shops and on public transport.
‘On social distancing, transport bosses will need to have two-metre markers in place so people can safely keep their distance. This will need British Transport Police to maintain a presence at the entrance to stations to ensure crowd control at the busiest times. The working day will have to be staggered to avoid a single rush hour.
‘The new full for train carriages will not be the same as the old full. There is no precise timescale for all this, but the Government wants to have the conditions in place for when lockdown is lifted.’
Some fast food outlets such as Greggs have already started to test opening stores