• Andrew D Duffy

What A Difference A Stage Makes

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

What Happened To The UK Alert Level For Covid-19?


As the Prime Minister laid it out on a pre-recorded television address to the UK &NI, an alert system would be implemented and used to confirm if and when the Government restrictions could be eased, as well as the degrees to which that easing could take place.


When the Prime Minister announced it on the 10th of May (in his aforementioned television address, presidential in nature and running contrary to the practice of UK parliamentary democracy), it was clear that a key feature in transitioning from stage 4, where the UK was believed to be at the time of the address, to stage 3, where restrictions could be somewhat further lifted, would be the reproduction (R) number.




On the 28th of May, then, when the same PM announced restrictions could be somewhat further lifted, one would be forgiven for assuming that the R number had moved.


Alas, it had not. It stands, they estimate, between 0.7 and 1. At the point of the initial address, the estimation was that it stood between 0.7 and 0.9. Why they are now saying 0.7-1 instead of 0.7-0.9 is a question yet to be interrogated, to my knowledge.


Either way, it hardly seems like grounds for making a change, does it?


Nor does the fact that the UK Government figures for infections stands between 1500 and 2100 a day. Nor does the fact that at least 324 people are confirmed to have died on 28th May. Nor does the estimate of the Office for National Statistics that the infection number likely stands closer to 8000 per day than the figure the Government provide in their daily press conferences.


Nonetheless, there they go, moving from 4 to 3.


Oh. Wait, no. No they are not moving from 4 to 3. A Downing Street source allegedly claimed that the alert was 'between 4 and 3' but, since there is no 3.5 stage in the above map that I can see, we have to work under the proviso that things remain at stage 4.


Granted, the Government of the UK are only permitting gradual relaxation of restrictions, but then again, when does that map permit 'gradual relaxation of restrictions'? Oh, yeah. Stage 3. But they've not moved to stage 3, meaning they are in stage 4. What does stage 4 say?


Oh yeah. 'Social Distancing Continues'.


The question, then, is has this staged approach, announced with great hoopla and pride only weeks ago, been abandoned, ignored or forgotten?


If abandoned, in favour of what? If ignored, on what basis? If forgotten...


Get the PM back on the television explaining, apologising and resigning.



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