Sir Keir: exit strategy from Covid-19 lockdown must be forthcoming

Published by Scott Challinor on April 15th 2020, 11:11am

Newly appointed Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on the government to release an exit strategy from the UK Covid-19 lockdown this week.

It is expected that the government will officially extend social distancing regulations on Thursday, but while Sir Keir said that Labour will support the move, he has urged the government to be transparent going forward.

Speaking on BBC Radio Four, Sir Keir said: “We have got to have the trust of the public.

"For that trust there needs to be transparency and openness - they need to know what the thinking is on when lockdown will end."

Sir Keir wrote to foreign secretary Dominic Raab to confirm that Labour will support the “inevitable” continuation of the lockdown, while calling on the government to set out an exit strategy to maintain all-important public faith.

The letter reiterated the point that Sir Keir made on air, saying that the government "needs to be open and transparent with the public about how it believes the lockdown will ease and eventually end", adding that people “need a sense of what comes next” to maintain morale.

During his BBC Radio Four interview, Sir Keir suggested that “mass testing and tracing” could be implemented to bring about an end to the lockdown, adding that previous government planning did not come quickly enough.

He said: “Decisions need to be taken now to make sure that the number of tests that are needed and that the arrangements are in place so they can be implemented at the relevant time."

Sir Keir also suggested that schools could be among the first to re-open “in principle” after social distancing measures are lifted, but told BBC Breakfast that an exact timeframe could not be put on when this may happen.

Sir Keir explained: "Until we know the curve is flattening, then I'm afraid we have to stay in the conditions we're in”.

The government has hinted that plans to lift restrictions are being devised but no detail on this has yet been forthcoming.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday at the government’s daily coronavirus briefing that saving lives would remain the number one priority in the government's strategy going forward.

NHS England medical director Professor Stephen Powis informed the media at the conference that obedience of lockdown measures among the public has had the desired effect on the number of Covid-19 hospital admissions, urging Brits not to “become complacent” and to continue adhering to guidance.

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Authored By

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
April 15th 2020, 11:11am

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