British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is resuming his work after fighting his own coronavirus battle. Johnson spent three weeks recovering, part of it in the hospital. In an address this morning he said:
I’m sorry I’ve been away from my desk for much longer than I would have liked and I want to thank everybody who has stepped up, in particular the First Secretary of State Dominic Raab who has done a terrific job, but once again I want to thank you, the people of this country for the sheer grit and guts you have shown and are continuing to show.
As the BBC reports Johnson is now focused on flattening the curve and that means a careful approach to re-opening the United Kingdom.
Mr Johnson said he understood concerns from business-owners who were impatient to end the lockdown.
But ending it too soon could lead to a second spike in cases and cause more deaths, “economic disaster” and restrictions being reintroduced, he said.
“I ask you to contain your impatience,” Mr Johnson added.
He said there were “real signs now that we are passing through the peak” – including with fewer hospital admissions and fewer Covid-19 patients in intensive care.
We cannot throw away all the effort and sacrifice of the British people and risk a second major outbreak. pic.twitter.com/cf8gMiPaqt
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) April 27, 2020
Current lockdown measures expire in the UK on May 7th, but according to Johnson re-opening will depend on several factors:
When we are sure that this first phase is over and that we are meeting our five tests: deaths falling, NHS protected, rate of infection down, really sorting out the challenges of testing and PPE, avoiding a second peak, then that will be the time to move on to the second phase in which we continue to suppress the disease and keep the reproduction rate – the R rate – down, but begin gradually to refine the economic and social restrictions and one-by-one to fire up the engines of this vast UK economy.
And in that process difficult judgments will be made and we simply cannot spell out now how fast or slow or even when those changes will be made, though clearly the Government will be saying much more about this in the coming days.