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22nd February - Roadmap out of the pandemic, lifting of restrictions.

Bertie the bus

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We haven't see the law yet so you can't say that. We have seen some guff in a document produced by the government which says from 8 March you have to both stay at home but don't have to stay at home.

This is a direct quote from the document:

From 8 March, the Stay at Home restriction will continue but it will be amended so that people can leave home for recreation as well as exercise outdoors - with their own household, support or childcare bubble, or with one person from another household. Social distancing and other safe behaviours should be followed.

We don't what the amendment will be but we can be certain the guidelines won't reflect the law.
 
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Bikeman78

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Especially as back in 2020 there was a period when they weren't sufficiently convinced of the effectiveness to make them mandatory at the time.
I recall that the main reason Mark Drakeford mentioned for masks on trains was to bring Wales into line with England. They weren't required elsewhere in Wales until September.
 

Watershed

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The question wasn't when can I whizz around on a train all day, it was when can I travel on a train for non essential travel to go wherever I like? That doesn't suggest a 5 minute break.

Outdoor leisure can't be compared to exercise. Obviously if you travel 150 miles for a short walk it could be argued you didn't leave you house for exercise but if specific outdoor leisure activities aren't prescribed by law then it would be perfectly reasonable for somebody whose chosen outdoor leisure activity is to build a sandcastle or walk along the beach to travel a significant distance if they live nowhere near the coast.
If your reason for leaving home is a reasonable excuse - even if some might not consider it essential - you can travel on a train at any point, even now.

On 8 March the list of things specifically defined as reasonable excuses will widen to include outdoor recreation once again. This point will, for most intents and purposes, mean the end of the "stay at home" requirement, since many things will qualify under that excuse.

On 29 March the only restrictions expected to exist in that respect are a ban on overnighting away from home

The position from 8 March is likely to be the same as during the infamous scenes at Bournemouth beach etc. last year - although I'm less convinced we'll have crowds at beaches, owing to the weather!

We don't what the amendment will be but we can be certain the guidelines won't reflect the law.
Unfortunately a divergence is likely to exist for some time to come yet.

In principle, I don't mind there being a difference - but the guidance needs to make clear the distinction between areas it is advising on (e.g. observing social distancing) and things which are explanations of the law.

The same applies to any messages put out by TOCs, but again, I have little confidence that we won't see a repeat of last year's nonsense.
 
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brad465

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Every newspaper unsurprisingly is reporting this roadmap, but the Daily Mail seems to be the only one saying it's too slow, while the others talk about it with jubilance or a less partisan take:

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initiation

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According to a poll by Savanta ComRes:

45% think the plan is fairly or very cautious, whilst 19% think it is fairly or very reckless. (31% think it's about right)
52% are overall satisfied with it, 17% are overall dissatisfied.

Given we know polls tend to lean towards supporting restrictions and being cautious, that suggests that the large majority of people are happy with the plans but would want them to go a bit faster.

Interesting and sort of vaguely related story from my father. 60 year old so modest but not major risk. Live in the suburbs of a large (>150k) town. He is pro-lockdown, masks etc...

Turns out for the last few months he found a smaller town which according to the Gov dashboard has consistently much lower covid rates (a 20-30 min drive away) and has been going there for his shopping rather than any of the closer dozen+ supermarkets in his hometown.

Now I know the stay local is tricky to define legally but we have on one hand someone who is pro-lockdown person and on the other, someone happy to go against guidance when it suits them.

People are always more likely to view their own breaking of the rules or guidance as necessary or not significant. It's the plebs down the road that are the trouble makers. When asked they will nod with agreement to say that more measures are necessary.
 
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49 days (and yes I’m counting!). But as we saw in round 1, hospital occupancy doesn’t evaporate overnight - Government want to be sure the numbers are going the right way.
Sure of what number though. Im sounding like a stuck record but they have given no targets for any of the metrics. So as you forecast earlier 11k is likely on 8th March and isn't far off SPI-M last published forecast so thats good for step 1 but what are they looking for at stage 2 - who knows its not published? Why isn't published i can only surmise is they want to retain control of pace of lockdown not let the data determine it shorter or longer. Im not bothered which i just wanted it to be governed by the data and it isn't again.
 

Watershed

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Sure of what number though. Im sounding like a stuck record but they have given no targets for any of the metrics. So as you forecast earlier 11k is likely on 8th March and isn't far off SPI-M last published forecast so thats good for step 1 but what are they looking for at stage 2 - who knows its not published? Why isn't published i can only surmise is they want to retain control of pace of lockdown not let the data determine it shorter or longer. Im not bothered which i just wanted it to be governed by the data and it isn't again.
One of the problems is that as soon as they release numbers, people will start working out how many deaths that means they are "accepting".

The truth is that a certain number of people will die, it's just a question of how many Covid victims and how many lockdown victims...

Of course much of the press (and thus the public) refuses to accept any Covid death as acceptable, and completely overlooks lockdown deaths. Which is how we end up back where we started.
 

MikeWM

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49 days (and yes I’m counting!). But as we saw in round 1, hospital occupancy doesn’t evaporate overnight - Government want to be sure the numbers are going the right way.

49 days + 35 more before you can sit inside. That's 12 weeks, which is pretty close to '3 months'.

And what if the numbers aren't going the right way, despite the vaccinations? Go back into lockdown forever?

You might have missed a the tier 4 lockdown restrictions imposed on a large proportion of the population a few weeks before this current lockdown?

Given I was caught up in them and they ruined my Christmas plans, no I sadly didn't miss them. However London and a few of the home counties went into Tier 4 on 19th December, and the rest of the southeast on 26th December, with the rest of the country on 4th January. So, nationally, I agree it is quite hard to tell.

If you drill down to regions on the government dashboard however, you can get a clearer picture. The northwest, for example, peaked on 4th January, clearly before the Tier 4/lockdown (on 4th January!) had chance to have any effect. The northeast peaked on 29th December, a week before...

I have no idea. But I do know that, in English, ‘next winter’ doesn’t mean ‘forever’.

True, but it doesn't not mean it either. If the conditions that supposedly 'require' it next winter are conditions that will happen every year, or most years, then that is what it is likely to actually mean.
 

Bald Rick

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Sure of what number though. Im sounding like a stuck record but they have given no targets for any of the metrics. So as you forecast earlier 11k is likely on 8th March and isn't far off SPI-M last published forecast so thats good for step 1 but what are they looking for at stage 2 - who knows its not published? Why isn't published i can only surmise is they want to retain control of pace of lockdown not let the data determine it shorter or longer. Im not bothered which i just wanted it to be governed by the data and it isn't again.

I wouldn’t publish it if I was them either. Hostage to fortune. If you say ‘hospital occupancy needs to be less than 3,000 to enable Step 2’, and on D Day it’s 3,001, what do you do? (Rhetorical question).
 

Bikeman78

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And what if the numbers aren't going the right way, despite the vaccinations? Go back into lockdown forever?
That is the problem. There is no plan B. Hopefully we won't need one.

True, but it doesn't not mean it either. If the conditions that supposedly 'require' it next winter are conditions that will happen every year, or most years, then that is what it is likely to actually mean.
I'm pretty confident that it will fade into the background within a couple of years. My grandmother was born during the Spanish Flu pandemic. When I was growing up I frequently stayed with her and she talked at length about her early life. It was fascinating to listen to. She never mentioned Spanish Flu. She'd have been five in 1924 so I think it's fair to say that it wasn't a problem by that time.
 

HSTEd

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I wouldn’t publish it if I was them either. Hostage to fortune. If you say ‘hospital occupancy needs to be less than 3,000 to enable Step 2’, and on D Day it’s 3,001, what do you do? (Rhetorical question).

Well you call Sir Humphrey and get him to redefine the meaning of hospital to exclude one ward.
 

Dave91131

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49 days + 35 more before you can sit inside. That's 12 weeks, which is pretty close to '3 months'.

And it's proven too much for a privately owned "wet-led" pub local to me.

Insufficient cash / support to survive until mid-May. Employees to be served notice of redundancy later today.

RIP.
 

Bertie the bus

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Sure of what number though. Im sounding like a stuck record but they have given no targets for any of the metrics. So as you forecast earlier 11k is likely on 8th March and isn't far off SPI-M last published forecast so thats good for step 1 but what are they looking for at stage 2 - who knows its not published? Why isn't published i can only surmise is they want to retain control of pace of lockdown not let the data determine it shorter or longer. Im not bothered which i just wanted it to be governed by the data and it isn't again.
Which is why we should all be very wary of this supposed roadmap. Whitty was very keen to point out that infection rates were still very high despite the fact in England they haven't been this low since September. I doubt the dates will be met and they will use one of the metrics they refuse to make public to ensure they're not. There is also the likelihood they will delay because they don't have the required data yet. Both Whitty and Vallance defended the 5 week gaps between the lifting of the measures as that is how long it takes to see if they are having the desired effect but they didn't have that attitude towards the tier system when they imposed the lockdown last November or the tier 4 restrictions when they imposed this one and it only took Vallance about 1 or 2 weeks before he declared this lockdown is working so expect 5 weeks to become 6, 7 or 8. Unfortunately, none of them can be trusted.
 
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bramling

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Which is why we should all be very wary of this supposed route map. Whitty was very keen to point out that infection rates were still very high despite the fact in England they haven't been this low since September. I doubt the dates will be met and they will use one of the metrics they refuse to make public to ensure they're not.

They need to be very careful with that. Businesses will be working towards re-opening on the dates given. I suspect there will be proper trouble if they are messed about again. Anyone owning or running a business must surely be at their wits end with all this now, and the lack of awareness BJ continues to show towards them.
 

Ianno87

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They need to be very careful with that. Businesses will be working towards re-opening on the dates given. I suspect there will be proper trouble if they are messed about again. Anyone owning or running a business must surely be at their wits end with all this now, and the lack of awareness BJ continues to show towards them.

That's (I suppose) a benefit of 5 weeks between phases - less likelihood of slippage messing businesses around (in theory).
 

yorksrob

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I've just heard a snippet on the news saying that a group of forty opposition MP's have signed a letter calling for a zero covid strategy and an even more drawn out release of lockdown.
 

birchesgreen

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I've just heard a snippet on the news saying that a group of forty opposition MP's have signed a letter calling for a zero covid strategy and an even more drawn out release of lockdown.
Is that the one Burgon is behind? The man would lose an intellectual battle with a packet of crisps.
 

Andy Pacer

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I recall that the main reason Mark Drakeford mentioned for masks on trains was to bring Wales into line with England. They weren't required elsewhere in Wales until September.
Indeed, although my initial response wasn't Welsh specific.
 

duncanp

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I see Matt Hancock was on the morning broadcast rounds today suggesting a note of caution and saying the period between each step was "more likely to be extended than shortened".

Just give it a rest will you Mr Hancock - the country has had just about enough of doom and gloom over the past few months.

But it is intruiging that he said "..more likely to be extended than shortened..." which does leave open the small possibility of the gap between each step being less than five weeks.

Or you could see the announcement confirming that the next stage is gonig to go ahead two weeks in advance of the actual date rather than one week in advance. If this happened it would mean that the announcement confirming stage 2 would happen just before the vote in parliament on renewing the COVID legislation, and the announcement confirming stage 3 would happen just before the local elections. Both these scenarios would have political advantages for Boris Johnson.

Matt Hancock has countered Boris Johnson's optimism about the prospects of the four-month roadmap out of lockdown, suggesting the period between each step was more likely to be extended than shortened.

Announcing his roadmap plan on Monday, Mr Johnson said: "The end really is in sight, and a wretched year will give way to a spring and a summer that will be very different and incomparably better than the picture we see around us today."

The Health Secretary told Sky there was "remarkable unanimity" among the Cabinet, with ministers "all absolutely determined to come out of this as fast as is safely possible - but not faster."

The success of the roadmap was dependent on "how everyone responds and pulls together, so it's important everyone sticks to existing rules", the doveish minister added. "There is light at the end of the tunnel - the best way to get there is to keep abiding by rules."

Mr Hancock defended the pace against criticism from lockdown sceptic MPs such as Steve Baker - who yesterday warned it would be a "hammerblow" to the many industries forced to remain shut for weeks to come.

"We want to be able to hit those milestones, but we will be vigilant and watch what's happening to make sure it's safe to make each move," said the Health Secretary. "It’s very important that we can see the impact of one step before taking the next step. There is a vital need to keep watching the data."
 

DelayRepay

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I can see a scenario where some aspects of the next stage might be implemented earlier than planned. For example we might see some of the step two restrictions lifted slightly before 12 April - certain types of shop being allowed to re-open for example. I think that happened last time with garden centres (although I know the current rules consider them to be essential retail so they are already open, selling over priced candles and fancy soap!)
 

peters

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12 April for that also. That’s when ‘self contained’ holiday accommodation can open, for use by members of one household.

Most accommodation meeting that criteria isn't really accessible by rail. Even if you are happy walking a few miles along country lanes with luggage from the station, you've then got the issue of what you're going to do in the middle of nowhere without a car and how you'll get fresh food.

As you say it'll be for one household only and that criteria also applies to cars travelling to and from such sites.

Like most people I'd like to see everything reopened by June, not see the reopening of certain places delayed until the autumn. The more people who follow common sense, rather than ignoring any advice that isn't a legal requirement, the higher the chance of the dates on the road map being achieved.
 

ChrisC

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I've just heard a snippet on the news saying that a group of forty opposition MP's have signed a letter calling for a zero covid strategy and an even more drawn out release of lockdown.
I’m not surprised. I was watching the BBC Parliament channel yesterday afternoon and that became quite clear listening to a lot of the opposition MP’s. Boris and Co may have got lots of things very wrong during the last year, but cautious and slow as it may seem, at least yesterday’s roadmap and the vaccine offers a way out of this mess. Many Labour MP’s and the SNP would have restrictions remaining right through the winter into next year.

I’m still disappointed that hotels are not opening until 17th May but last night I booked 3 holidays before the prices go up. This included rebooking a week at the new Premier Inn opposite Penzance station which was cancelled last April. Only £49 a night throughout October which is less than half the price they are charging during September.
 

yorksrob

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I’m not surprised. I was watching the BBC Parliament channel yesterday afternoon and that became quite clear listening to a lot of the opposition MP’s. Boris and Co may have got lots of things very wrong during the last year, but cautious and slow as it may seem, at least yesterday’s roadmap and the vaccine offers a way out of this mess. Many Labour MP’s and the SNP would have restrictions remaining right through the winter into next year.

I’m still disappointed that hotels are not opening until 17th May but last night I booked 3 holidays before the prices go up. This included rebooking a week at the new Premier Inn opposite Penzance station which was cancelled last April. Only £49 a night throughout October which is less than half the price they are charging during September.

Indeed. And September isn't even the height of the holiday season !
 

Class 33

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I see Matt Hancock was on the morning broadcast rounds today suggesting a note of caution and saying the period between each step was "more likely to be extended than shortened".

Just give it a rest will you Mr Hancock - the country has had just about enough of doom and gloom over the past few months.

But it is intruiging that he said "..more likely to be extended than shortened..." which does leave open the small possibility of the gap between each step being less than five weeks.

Or you could see the announcement confirming that the next stage is gonig to go ahead two weeks in advance of the actual date rather than one week in advance. If this happened it would mean that the announcement confirming stage 2 would happen just before the vote in parliament on renewing the COVID legislation, and the announcement confirming stage 3 would happen just before the local elections. Both these scenarios would have political advantages for Boris Johnson.

After watching the news conference yesterday and reading some clarification in the media, I am feeling cautiously optimistic that 21st June we should surely be back to normal and all restrictions(including the dreaded social distancing and mask wearing nonsense) will finally be scrapped. Even at the news conference, Whitty and Vallance were both surprisingly optimistic about this. Fingers crossed the end is within sight now - just under 4 months to go, and that nothing is going to mess it up.

However two things I noted since that news conference yesterday. When checking the Metro website last night, whilst there was a big headline about the route back to normality, there was also an article on the right hand side that said "Chris Whitty's dire warning that could halt route back to normality". I thought "What the ????", but I didn't bother to click in to read what it said as I don't want to read negative news.

Then this morning I do a quick check on the Sky News website and the main headline article is "Hancock warns easing lockdown could be slower than PM's timeline". Oh for goodness sake! Yet only last month he was saying "Everyone's going to have a fantastic summer, doing what they all enjoy again." and "We're going to have a great British care-free summer."!!! This is what I get really fed up with, with this cabinet. They can be saying conflicting things to what others are saying, and also one week they could be saying something very positive about the easing of lockdown/restrictions and then the next week saying something more cautious or negative! So what are we to believe?!

Anyway, overall I'm feeling cautiously optimistic that on 21st June we should be back to normal and free of all these ridiculous damaging restrictions. If it turns out though that that doesn't happen and this drags on into July, August or later then this will just not be acceptable.
 
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yorksrob

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The current timetable is the one with built in "dwell time", so they shouldn't be countenancing extended timescales.

Also, they shouldn't be countenancing any measures that don't have a clear exit path. That includes any measures beyond the completion of the vaccination strategy.
 

DustyBin

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Sweden is a completely different country with different behaviours of people; no where near as crammed in as UK population, so the comparison isn't really relevant.

Even if this is the case, comparing Sweden with Norway for example suggests the same i.e. the lockdown approach has little impact and infections will peak and trough naturally. I’m very much of the opinion that it is not within our gift to control this virus. We can implement measures that have a slight (and temporary) effect on the course of the pandemic but it amounts to tinkering around the edges, at great cost.

As for Sweden, I'm aware that the graphs don't show a correlation between the severity of legal restrictions and severity of outcome. However, the case for the Swedish approach also relies on discounting three factors. The first is the role of social compliance to distancing measures which were imposed by law here. The second is the way that the Swedish government have moved towards legislating restrictions, while the third is the significantly worse - economically and in health terms - outcomes for Sweden compared to its neighbours. Factored in, I consider that the Swedish outcome is significantly less favourable than is generally presented, and that the differences (and apparent advantages) of the Swedish approach are far less clear cut than argued.

In terms of health outcomes, has Sweden done “significantly worse” than its neighbours? Other than making the same catastrophic mistake as ourselves in regard to care homes, the data suggests otherwise....
 

Bantamzen

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The current timetable is the one with built in "dwell time", so they shouldn't be countenancing extended timescales.

Also, they shouldn't be countenancing any measures that don't have a clear exit path. That includes any measures beyond the completion of the vaccination strategy.
Given the response in the media this morning, I think to a degree that these dates are pretty much locked in. People's expectations have been set now so any slippage is going to need a bloody good justification, not just another "just in case" scenario. I suspect that this is the reason for the 5 week gaps rather than the originally reported 3, this acts as a compromise for the SAGE sponsored lockdown committee & businesses chomping at the bit.
 

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