Tony Blair sets out his OWN lockdown exit strategy as he calls for traffic light scheme for easing rules, localised crackdowns on Covid outbreaks and a full Treasury analysis of the cost of the roadmap
- Tony Blair Institute for Global Change published its own lockdown exit roadmap
- Think tank calls for Government to adopt a traffic light system for easing rules
- Also suggests using localised crackdowns to prevent future Covid outbreaks
- Comes just days before Boris Johnson will unveil his plans on Monday next week
Tony Blair today published his own lockdown exit strategy as he called for the Government to adopt a traffic light system for easing rules, localised crackdowns on outbreaks and a full Treasury analysis of the costs of the roadmap.
The former PM’s Institute for Global Change think tank said in a new report that Boris Johnson should be guided by five steps in his plan for getting life back to normal.
Those steps include ensuring the Government sets a clear objective for its strategy, like keeping the R rate of transmission below one, and to guarantee that all decisions on loosening and tightening rules will be data driven.
The report claims ministers made three ‘critical errors’ the last time they eased lockdown and they must not be repeated.
They are a lack of clarity on what the Government was trying to achieve, no link between the coronavirus alert level and curbs, and under-estimating the economic impact of failing to suppress the virus.
Mr Blair’s plan comes just days before Mr Johnson will unveil his lockdown exit roadmap on Monday.
The ex-PM’s think think has considerable influence in Whitehall and there will therefore be speculation that Mr Johnson’s blueprint could be similar.
Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change think tank today published its own roadmap for easing lockdown
Boris Johnson will unveil his eagerly-anticipated strategy for easing lockdown on Monday next week
Mr Blair’s plan would see the introduction of a five step traffic light system for loosening restrictions
At the heart of Mr Blair’s plan is a colour-coded traffic light system which would guide the reopening of society.
The system would have five levels, with the easing of rules directly linked to the R number and the number of coronavirus cases.
For example, the red fifth level would be triggered if the NHS was near its capacity. This top level would correspond to a strict stay at home message.
Level four would see schools allowed to open, level three would see the return of non-essential shops and level two would see hospitality resume.
The green level one would be triggered when there are no known cases of coronavirus in the UK, meaning that all restrictions could be lifted.
The think tank said in its report that last time the Government’s reopening roadmap ‘didn’t work’ because a ‘hard lockdown was required from the start of the new year’.
It said the ‘health and economic consequences of the failure to contain the virus over the past six months have been huge’ but there are now ‘many more reasons to be positive’ thanks to the vaccine rollout.
The think tank said the first step to delivering a better plan this time is that the Government must set a ‘clear policy objective’ for what it wants to achieve such as keeping case numbers below a specific number or ensuring cases continue to fall.
It said that while these objectives may be ‘plausible, in practice only a policy of keeping R consistently below 1 is likely to be deliverable’.
The second step is to ask Government scientific experts to ‘assess the likely path of the virus under its proposed exit plan and if necessary adjust the timetable to meet its own policy objective’.
The third step is that the easing and, if necessary, tightening of rules ‘should be contingent on the data’.
The think tank said there should be tiers of restrictions that are ‘linked explicitly to the alert levels’ recommended by the Joint Biosecurity Centre.
The fourth step is to take a flexible approach to lifting rules and clamping down on localised outbreaks.
‘A rigid national or regional approach alone will involve unnecessary economic and social costs to contain the virus,’ the report said.
The fifth step is for the Treasury to ‘develop and publish regular modelling’ on the economic impact of the roadmap.
The think tank concluded that the success of the vaccine rollout and the extent to which the jabs prevent transmission is likely to determine the extent to which life can return to normal.
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