Boris's 'whack-a-mole' strategy to get Britain back to work and school

How the lockdown to could start to be eased 
Construction and other outdoor workers cleared to return Non-food retailers allowed to reopen  Offices  re-opened but with strict distancing rules Schools reopening in June Ban on visiting spots relaxed Increased public transport with strict distancing rules Return to strict lockdown in areas where cases surge again Pubs and other congregational settings remain closed for longer Harsher fines for rule breaking 

Boris Johnson will this week reveal his 'whack-a-mole' strategy to ease the coronavirus lockdown and put the UK economy back into gear.

The Prime Minister is expected to reveal his roadmap of proposals to very carefully and slowly lift the restriction in place since late March, but come down hard on any secondary hotspots that emerge.

The first easing of restrictions is not expected to come into force until June, and will be accompanied by the stricter enforcement of breaches of the remaining rules, with fines rising from the current £60 to more than £3,000 for repeat offenders. 

It will include a massive PR blitz urging people who cannot work from home to go in where they can safely, and urging key workers to send their children back to school to free them up for vital tasks.

Public transport will also increase, but will strict social distancing measures at stations and attempts to stagger working hours to reduce the rush hour.

Senior citizens could also lose their free travel during peak times to lower surge numbers further, the Sunday Times reported.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned that Britain will not return to 'business as usual' this month.

He told Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday: 'I don't think we should expect us to go from this situation that we have at the moment of social distancing back to where we were in February - that's clearly not going to happen and I don't think anyone imagines that for one moment.' 

Ministers are concerned that the public have gone beyond the letter of the law introduced when the pandemic began to sweep the nation, according to the Sunday Times.

A senior Whitehall source told the paper: 'What you are going to see this week is a restatement of what we thought would happen right at the beginning when we first issued the lockdown. 

'But it's going to be repackaged as a slow opening up of the economy. Please will construction sites reopen, please will you go to work if you can without hurting people, please if you are a key worker will you send your children to school. 

'We've gone round the houses to get back to where we started.' 

It came as: 

Senior doctors have warned Boris Johnson the lockdown should be eased for over-70s on mental health grounds Minsters were said to be examining plans to re-open some schools from the beginning of June  Some people were found to be enjoying the lockdown, saying it was helping their relationships, they were enjoying work more and plan to spend more time with their children in future  A ban on picnics and visits to spots could be lifted Public transport could return to approaching normal levels of service but with measures in place to limit rush hour numbers  Boris Johnson has revealed that doctors prepared to announce his death in case he lost his coronavirus battle.

New polls today reveal how reluctant Britons are to return to normal while hundreds of people are still dying every day. 

Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister is expected to reveal his roadmap of proposals to very carefully and slowly lift the restriction in place since late March, but come down hard on any secondary hotspots that emerge.

People queue outside B&Q stores in Greenwich (above) and Loughborough (top) today as the DIY giant re-opens all their stores ahead of an expected general easing in the nationwide lockdown

People queue outside B&Q stores in Greenwich (above) and Loughborough (top) today as the DIY giant re-opens all their stores ahead of an expected general easing in the nationwide lockdown

Less busy today was an army-run 'pop up' Covid-19 Testing centre, in Coal Drops Yard near Kings Cross in north London

Less busy today was an army-run 'pop up' Covid-19 Testing centre, in Coal Drops Yard near Kings Cross in north London

More than four in five Britons are against lockdown restrictions being eased for schools, pubs and restaurants this week, according to a poll by Opinium for the Observer. 

Shapps admits more, earlier testing would have saved lives 

Fewer Britons would have died from coronavirus if more tests had been available earlier, a Cabinet minister has admitted, as he warned life would not return to 'business as usual' when Boris Johnson sets out his exit strategy.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said 'many things' could have been different if the UK's testing capacity was above 100,000 before Covid-19 spread in the country. More than 28,000 people have now died after testing positive for the virus in the UK.

In an interview with BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show, he was asked whether fewer people would have died if testing capacity had been greater sooner.

Mr Shapps replied: 'Yes. If we had had 100,000 test capacity before this thing started and the knowledge that we now have retrospectively, I'm sure many things could be different.

'The fact of the matter is this is not a country that had - although we're very big in pharmaceuticals as a country - we're not a country that had very large test capacity.'

Just 17 per cent thought the time was right to consider re-opening schools, with smaller proportions of people thinking conditions had been met to allow cinemas, sporting stadia and nightclubs to open their doors. 

There was also opposition to the reopening of restaurants and pubs - with only 11 per cent agreeing Britain is at a place to reopen eateries and 9 per cent supporting a return to pubs.

Britons more strongly opposed a return to stadium events and nightclubs, with 7 per cent saying conditions have been met for both to resume, compared to 84 per cent who did not.

In the Sunday Times, a YouGov poll found that just 25 per cent of adults would feel safe returning to work and oppose reopening schools by 48 per cent to 28 per cent.

And 59 per cent of people polled by the Sunday Express said they would not feel comfortable going out and do not plan to resume a normal life next month.    

Ministers will aim to tread a fine line between kickstarting economic activity and keeping 'R', the reproduction rate of the virus, below 1.  

The number of people who have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for Covid-19 in the UK as of 5pm on Friday rose to 28,131, up by 621.

The death toll has edged closer to that of , which now stands at 28,710 and is the highest in Europe, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

A long queue maintaining social distancing outside a Tesco supermarket in north London today

A long queue maintaining social distancing outside a Tesco supermarket in north London today

Ministers are concerned that the public have gone beyond the letter of the law introduced when the pandemic began to sweep the nation, according to the Sunday Times

Ministers are concerned that the public have gone beyond the letter of the law introduced when the pandemic began to sweep the nation, according to the Sunday Times

Get businesses going again  

The Government's main priority is getting the economy going again, amid dire statistics about commercial activity and hundreds of billions of pounds flowing out of the treasury to prop up firms and pay the wages of furloughed workers.

'Discriminatory' lockdown should be eased for the healthy elderly, say senior doctors

Senior doctors have warned Boris Johnson the lockdown should be eased for over-70s that are considered healthy, due to the damage keeping them inside is doing to their mental health.

Both the Royal College of GPs and the British Medical Association (BMA) weighed in to say that age alone should not be the determining factor when the government establishes who can return to their daily lives as the lockdown is eased, potentially in the coming weeks and months.

Around 1.8 million people classed as 'clinically vulnerable' were told to stay indoors for 12 weeks when the lockdown began as they were considered to be the most at-risk people in the UK from Covid-19.

Some ministers have even suggested that such groups could have to stay at home until a vaccine has been developed, which could well take a year or more.

Those in the 'clinically vulnerable' category include anyone 'aged 70 or older regardless of medical condition', as well as anyone who is younger than 70 with a 'underlying health condition'.

According to The Times, the doctor's union said that while it agreed that the most vulnerable people in society must be protected, measures should be determined on individual risk with a system that applies to all ages, and not just 'an arbitrary age of 60 or 70.'

Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, warned of the harm a prolonged lockdown would do to the 'physical and mental' of those over the age of 70, and that their age is not the best way to determine 'who should self-isolate and to what extent during the next stage of lockdown'.

The BMA said said in a statement: 'A blanket ban on any section of the population being prohibited from lockdown easing would be discriminatory and unacceptable.'

It comes as a leading business group urges the Government to be 'bold' and not shy away from sustaining high levels of public spending.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) laid out a series of moves for a phased end to the current lockdown in a letter to the PM.

Steps should include safely reopening public spaces, schools and public transport, as well as workplaces and commercial spaces, said the letter. 

Moves should be made to minimise job losses and business failures, putting the UK economy on a 'high-growth, high-wage and low unemployment trajectory' as soon as possible. 

 The plans due to be laid out this week are reported to focus on those who work outside, including construction workers, because of science suggesting the virus is harder to catch outdoors. 

 Public transport is likely to return to normal levels and non-food retailers, factories, and warehouses will be encouraged to open.

Work on this has already started: people yesterday flocked to newly reopened DIY stores and rubbish tips.

Orderly queues formed at branches of Homebase, which opened 164 stores, as well as B&Q and Wickes. Costa Coffee drive-throughs were also busy. 

Offices are expected to instruct most of their staff to continue working from home.

But for those who cannot there will be strict rules for office spaces

They include mandatory floor markings to keep staff two metres apart, staggered start times and breaks, limits on how many people can get in lifts and regular deep cleaning, according to the Sunday Express. 

And in a blow to everyone desperate to celebrate the release of the lockdown with a  cold pint in their local, pubs and restaurants are likely to remain closed for weeks or even months longer.

This is because the bring people into close proximity to each other in difficult to control ways. 

But the phased reopening will be accompanied by harder action against those who break social distancing rules.

School is not out for summer

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps this morning told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday: 'It's no secret that of course we want the kids to go back to school but I'd be over-egging it to say there's a date in place, there's a plan in place'

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps this morning told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday: 'It's no secret that of course we want the kids to go back to school but I'd be over-egging it to say there's a date in place, there's a plan in place'

Primary schools could re-open on June 1, with students from Years 10 and 12 becoming the first in a wave of secondary pupils flocking to classes.

Boris Johnson is hoping to put teachers on three weeks' notice to re-open primary schools in England to all pupils as soon as next month.

Lockdown is making us love our families MORE: Britons are less likely to split up from partners, are eating and sleeping more... and having more sex 

 When Boris Johnson announced the stringent stay-at-home measures in March, many predicted: 'The divorce rate is going to go up!'

Not so, according to The Mail on Sunday's exclusive poll, which paints a more rosy picture of life in lockdown, showing that, on balance, people believe that the extra time spent with their partners has made them less likely to split up.

They are also enjoying work more, plan to spend more time with their children in future and are having more sex – but only if they are married.

The results of the Deltapoll survey will be studied closely in Downing Street as officials start to draw up a blueprint for easing the restrictions slowly and safely.

In terms of intimate relations, the lockdown has opened up a divide between the generations.

Overall, 29 per cent of people said that they were having less sex now, compared with 20 per cent who are having more.

But among the 18-24 age group, more than half (58 per cent) are enjoying less intimacy, with just 18 per cent enjoying more. That is the generation likely to be still living at home or in shared flats, rather than with long-term partners, and unable to go on dates.

Whitehall sources have claimed the earliest possible return of primary schoolchildren is intended to help parents to return to work.

It will also prevent damage being done to 'early years development' about which Gavin Williamson has warned, according to The Sunday Telegraph. 

Officials are understood to be contemplating limiting the size of classes temporarily, while the question of when to re-open nurseries is an open one.

Pupils from Years 10 and 12 would then head to school, provided ministers were satisfied the transmission rate did not cause a 'second peak'.

The move is being considered as data show that younger children are potentially less likely to transmit Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The discussions also come after Mr Williams told the education select committee this week that schools would not reopen opening during the summer holidays as a way of helping pupils who have missed out on education to catch up.

The education secretary also suggested a phased return to schools, saying it was 'not realistic or practical' for all school children to return in one day.

He said scientists were looking at other countries for best practice and that a special team of the Scientific Group for Emergencies (SAGE) had been set up to focus solely on schools reopening.

Mr Shapps told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: 'It's no secret that of course we want the kids to go back to school but I'd be over-egging it to say there's a date in place, there's a plan in place.' 

But Ofsted chief inspector of schools Amanda Spielman told the same programme: 'If you look at the interests of children ... it's very clear that their interests are served, in the vast majority of cases, by being back at school as soon as possible.'

The Party's OVER: Social bubble could be limited to just 10 family and friends until 2021 

Social bubbles could be limited to fewer than ten people and super-spreader indoor events could be banned until well into 2021 to avoid a second peak of coronavirus infections, scientists revealed.

Senior epidemiologist Adam Kucharski has warned Britain could face 'exponential growth' in Covid-19 cases if groups of people start getting together to celebrate as lockdown measures are eased.

'Look at where these super-spreading events occur, it's often at family gatherings and meals and weddings and parties and all these things that socially we want to happen,' Dr Kucharski told The Sunday Times.

His team at the London

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