A cautious approach could be politically more challenging
With COVID rates halving every two weeks, and cases looking to drop below 1,000 a day by the second week of April the Mail continues its pressure on the PM over his plans to ease the lockdown.
This is going to be a highly tricky for the prime minister who is known to take a very liberal approach when it comes to imposing new regulations on the public. But the last thing he wants to do is make a decision that leads to another rise in the number of cases and the death toll. The Mail’s report goes on:
.. the Prime Minister will today receive a dossier of data which will help shape his roadmap out of lockdown. Despite his ‘data not dates’ pledge, the package of information will reportedly earmark the earliest possible opportunity to reopen shops and pubs, as well as a first look at the effectiveness of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab. Those numbers will then be crunched in meetings with trusted aides and Cabinet ministers over the weekend, to add the finishing touches to his new masterplan, according to the Sun…. Yesterday, Mr Johnson appeared to confirm a cautious timetable, saying he would take a ‘prudent’ approach and suggesting that pubs and restaurants would be among the last places to reopen.
At the moment there are no betting markets on what Johnson will include in his statement on Monday and I’m told the bookies are concerned about how they would define each bet.
The Sun is also reporting the pressure that is being mounted on Johnson and suggests that there are 40 CON MPs working hard to ensure that next week sees a way back to normality whatever that is. It notes:
Greg Mulholland, of the Campaign for Pubs, said: “Outdoor-only opening is simply not profitable for thousands of pubs, indeed most pubs, and Government support must continue until pubs can open profitably, without rules and restrictions that make that impossible. “What we now need is certainty over when pubs can reopen indoors with household mixing and no curfew or restriction on dining.”
What is clear is that how the data moves in the next few days could be highly critical in determining what the government does and it is possible that the government will wait as long as possible before finalising the roadmap.