It has been almost two months since then, the inhabitants of our country were forced to accept restrictions on their freedom — your freedom — of this magnitude, what we had never before seen in peacetime or during a war. And you demonstrated good judgment, fully endorsing these rules. You survived all the difficulties of this social distancing. Because you know what, given the situation and the experience of many other countries, it is the only way to deal with coronavirus — the most terrible threat our country has faced in my memory.
And despite the huge number of casualties and immense suffering, despite the fact that we mourn all those whom we have lost, the fact remains that by adopting these measures, we would not allow our country has embraced disaster, in which a moderately pessimistic scenario promised us half a million victims. Only thanks to your efforts and sacrifices in combating the spread of this disease, the mortality is gradually decreasing, and hospitalization rates are also falling. Thanks to you we have protected our National health service and saved thousands of lives.
I know and you know too, that it would be folly to squander this achievement and to prevent a second wave of disease.
We must remain vigilant. We need to control the spread of the virus and save lives. However, we must also recognize that this campaign against the virus has cost an enormous price for our way of life. We see it everywhere — in closed shops, abandoned businesses, in the dark Windows of the pubs and restaurants.
Millions of people are now afraid of this terrible disease and at the same time fear how this long period of forced inactivity will affect their earnings, as well as their mental and physical health. For their own future and the future of their children.
In this regard, today I want to introduce you to a plan that should help us deal with both these fears. Which should help to defeat the virus and serve as a first outline of a roadmap for the removal of quarantine restrictions. Who needs to form an understanding of how we will move forward, when, how and on what grounds we are to make further decisions. Tomorrow I will talk more about this in Parliament, and the evening will answer questions from the public.
I held consultations with representatives of various political movements throughout the United Kingdom. Although different parts of the country are experiencing a pandemic of coronavirus in different ways and although it is proper to show flexibility in our approach, I as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom — Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland — I believe that we are determined to fight it together. Today there is a common consensus about what we could do. And I emphasize “could”. Because although we have a plan, it is a conditional plan. And because our priority is to protect society and save lives, we can’t move forward until you provide the implementation of five conditions:
• We need to protect our National health service.
• We should achieve a steady reduction in mortality.
• We must ensure sustainable and substantial reduction in morbidity.
• We need to solve the problems associated with the provision of means of individual protection for those people who need them. Yes, it is a global problem, but we must solve it.
• And finally, we must ensure that the measures we take will not lead to higher coefficient of reproduction of coronavirus above the unit, so we can avoid the rapid growth, we encountered a few weeks ago.
To track our progress and avoid backsliding, we create a new system of warnings about the danger of infection Covid-19, which will manage the new Joint center for Biosafety (Joint Biosecurity Centre).
Severity of infection Covid-19 will be determined primarily on the basis of the coefficient of reproduction of the virus and number of cases. In turn, this level of risk will determine how stringent measures of social distancing we must enter. The lower the risk, the less restrictive measures, the higher the risk, the stricter and stricter, we have to act.
These hazard levels will be five. The first level would mean that the United Kingdom is no longer of this disease, and level five is that the situation has reached a critical point, — that is the situation we could get, if our national health service has not coped with the tasks.
Throughout the period of lockdown, we were on the fourth level, and thanks to your sacrifice, we are now in a position where we can already speak about the approach to the third level.
As this approximation every citizen will play their role to curb the rise of the coefficient of reproduction of the virus. Maintaining vigilance and following the rules. And so the incidence level is further decreased, we need to do two things.
We must quickly deal with the horrible outbreaks in nursing homes and institutions of the National health service. Although now the number of new infections is declining rapidly, of course, we still have much to do.
In addition, if we want to get this virus under control, we need a class system to identify potential victims and to track their contacts. That is why — in light of the above, because we have tested literally hundreds of thousands of people.
We have achieved rapid progress in testing, but we still have much to do. And we are able to do it.
When it started, we did not know about the existence of such diseases, and we didn’t understand its implications fully. Every day we receive new data. We shed the light of science on this invisible killer, we’ll catch it where it strikes because our health care system will be able to detect outbreaks in your areas, and also provide us with a national picture.
However, if you look at where we are in the moment, now the coefficient of reproduction is less than one — between 0.5 and 0.9; however, it may be only slightly less than unity. And although we have made progress in implementing at least some of the conditions that I listed earlier, until we have fulfilled all these conditions.
So no, now is not the time to just undo the lockdown this week. Instead, we take the first careful steps by some modification of the measures.
The first step is the change of emphasis, according to which, we hope, people will start to act this week.
We said that you should work from home if possible, and to commute to work only in the case if you have to. Now, we want to emphasize that anyone who can’t work from home — for example, those who are engaged in construction or industry, — will be strongly encouraged to return to work.
And we want to get to work was safe. You should avoid public transportation if possible because we need to continue to observe social distance, so public transport will be limited. That is, in the ability to work from home, but you still need to go to work, if you can’t work from home. To ensure your safety in the workplace, we create a new user for your employers, who will have to ensure that you are protected from Covid-19 in the workplace. If you still have to go to work, get there at his car, and the better by bike or on foot. But, as in the workplace, in public transport will comply with all precautions.
Starting Wednesday, may 13, we want to encourage more people to exercise in the fresh air — without any restrictions. You can sunbathe on the sun in a nearby Park, you can drive to other places, you can even play sports games, but only with members of your family.
You must comply with the rules of social distancing, and to enforce them, we are increasing the fines for those who violate them.
Daily, getting all the new data, we will follow the factor of reproduction of the virus and the number of new infections, and our progress, and if we all begin to fulfill the conditions that I have outlined, in the next few weeks we will be able to move on.
In the second step — the earlier to June 1 — we may be able to start a gradual opening of shops, and primary school pupils can in a few stages to get back to school. We hope that the students of secondary school, which next year will have to pass the exams, can at least some time to work out with the teachers before leaving on vacation. In the near future, we will develop detailed instructions of how to organize the work of schools, shops and public transport.
The third step will be taken at the earliest by July and we will need to perform all the conditions and take into account the opinion of the scientific community. Only if we allow the objective data, we hope to reopen at least some of the objects of the hospitality industry and other public places, while ensuring security and compliance of social distancing.
Over the next two months, we will be guided not only by expectations or economic necessity. We will be guided by scientific data, objective performance and health status of the population.
And I must stress again that all this depends on certain conditions — it all depends on a series of big “if.” It depends on all of us — from across the country — from whether we were going to follow the recommendations, will respect the social distance can reduce the rate of reproduction of the virus.
To prevent re-importation of infection from abroad, I’m officially warning you that soon we will enter quarantine for everyone who arrives in our country from abroad on planes. And, because you are making efforts to reduce the rate of reproduction of the virus here, now this measure will be effective.
And, of course, we will monitor progress at the level of individual cities, regions and the whole country. If they have flash, if they have problems, we will not hesitate to put the brakes on.
We have already passed the peak, but the descent from the mountain is often the most dangerous. We have a route, we have a plan, and all members of the government are struggling to save lives, restore livelihoods and gradually bring back those freedoms that we need. But ultimately it is a plan, in which should participate all. And when I look at what you have already done — the patience and common sense you have shown; for the courage of the older generation and isolation which we all want to end as soon as possible; the incredible bravery and diligence of the staff of our National health service; on the sacrifice of people from many different backgrounds, which helped us to fight this disease, police officers, bus drivers, train drivers, pharmacists, employees of supermarkets, truckers, garbage men, cleaners, security guards, employees of the postal service, teachers and thousands of others, as well as scientists who are working around the clock on a vaccine when I think about the millions of daily acts of kindness and caring that occur throughout the country and that helped us get through the first phase, I understand that we are able to implement this plan and move to the next stage.
If we are not able to make it to deadlines, if severity level does not allow us to do that, we’ll just wait and continue the movement forward at an appropriate time.
We will recover from this devilish disease. We will regain health, good health. And, although this experience will change the United Kingdom, I believe we will be stronger and better than before. More resilient, more innovative, more dynamic in the economic sense and at the same time more generous, more responsive.
But while we must remain vigilant, monitor the spread of the virus and save lives.
Thank you for your attention.