On Sunday night, the Prime Minister laid out a plan for reopening society as we continue to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
To chart progress, a new COVID Alert System is being set up, to be run by a new Joint Biosecurity Centre. The COVID Alert Level will be determined primarily by R (the reproduction rate of the disease) and the number of coronavirus cases.
The Alert Level will tell us just how tough social distancing measures need to remain, ranging from Level One, which would mean the disease is no longer present in the UK, to Level Five, which is the most critical and the kind of situation the UK would have found itself in had the NHS been overwhelmed.
During the lockdown period our country has been in Level Four, but we are now in a position to move to Level Three.
This does not mean that life can return to normal – far from it. If we are complacent, the virus will spread and more stringent lockdown measures will be necessary.
For now, anyone who is not able to work from home, such as those in manufacturing or construction jobs, should be encouraged to go to work, avoiding public transport where possible. New guidance is also being established for employers to make workplaces COVID-secure.
From Wednesday, people will be able to take more and unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise, while still complying with the rules on social distancing, with increased fines for the small minority who break them.
I am writing ahead of the Prime Minister’s House of Commons statement on Monday afternoon, following my (socially distanced) meeting with Boris Johnson in Parliament last week on the COVID-19 issues affecting people in Crawley.
This situation is completely unprecedented. Government guidance and advice is being published constantly.
Links to the latest information from HM Government are available on my website: www.henrysmith.info/coronavirus. This page also advises how you can sign up to receive Government updates about action being taken and the advice provided at this challenging time.
Henry Smith MP