-Boris Johnson’s exit plan is not yet clear
In Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first speech on Monday morning in front of Number 10 after his return to Office, he urged the public to not lose patience with the lockdown. Recently many people have been flouting lockdown rules to enjoy the good weather in parks and public places across the country.
"We are now beginning to turn the tide" on the disease, he noted but also pointed out the risk of a second spike while pleading for people to be patient to flatten the curve to contain the spread of the virus.
Once the UK meets the five tests for easing restrictions - including a consistent fall in the death rate while ensuring the NHS can cope, the BBC reported that Johnson said "it will then be the time to move on to the second phase" in the fight against the outbreak.
There are already early indications that the UK government might be preparing for a second phase following Italy’s example. According to the BBC, in preparation for reopening, high street shops will provide hand sanitizers for customers, encourage customers to shop alone where possible, regularly clean door handles, lift buttons and handrails, and use floor markings to remind customers to maintain a distance of two meters.
Despite the dramatic coronavirus-related impact on the UK, the kingdom needs to devise a clear strategy to withdraw from the lockdown before the economy, which was already suffering because of Brexit before the outbreak, deteriorates any further.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) previously described the current situation as the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s with expectations that advanced economies will go into a deep recession. Despite the efforts of Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the UK economy cannot endure many more months of shutdowns.
Virgin Atlantic is on the verge of collapse and has recently been looking for a buyer. Carluccio’s, Oasis, Warehouse and Debenhams already went into administration and many more high street shops will not survive because of the lockdown, John Timpson, the chairman of retail chain Timpson, said on Monday.
The public and business leaders are eagerly awaiting Johnson’s phase 2 strategy in the coming days. For many, having a timeline and clear strategy will ease the pressure on firms by giving them the opportunity to plan ahead.
There are some signs of the change to the new normal with news of Wizz Air’s plans to restart some flights from Luton Airport from May 1.