London | Struggling in the face of the very heavy toll of the pandemic in the United Kingdom and criticized for the failures of the deconfinement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday further easing, praising the “incredible” efforts of his country to fight the coronavirus.
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But these announcements to bring a little more air to the British were overshadowed by the chilling statements of a scientist who advises the government.
Before a parliamentary committee, the latter, epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, said that by instituting containment a week earlier, and not on March 23, the United Kingdom would have reduced “at least half the final number of dead” .
Searching for his words, Boris Johnson kicked in and said he was “premature” to answer all of these questions. “The right decisions were made at the right time,” he said.
According to the official count released Wednesday, 41,128 people tested positive (+245) died of Covid-19 in the UK. we even exceed 50,000 deaths by including suspected cases. It is the heaviest toll in Europe and the second highest in the world behind the United States.
According to government science advisor Patrick Vallance, “the epidemic is receding, but not quickly,” with an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 infections a day.
“We are not yet at the end of this epidemic, by far. We’re in the middle, ”said chief health officer Chris Whitty.
However, health services are not overwhelmed, the number of new deaths is ebbing as is the number of infections and hospitalizations: “We can continue to adjust the containment in England,” said Boris Johnson.
Closed since the end of March, with the exception of supermarkets, all retail businesses will be able to reopen there on Monday, as well as zoos and places of worship for individual prayers, but not the bars, restaurants and hairdressing salons for which this will only be possible on July 4 “at the earliest”.
And from the weekend, single people, with or without children, will be able to form a “bubble” with another household to meet them inside. In all other cases, only groups of up to six people outside are authorized, with a safety distance of two meters.
If children will once again be able to admire lions and monkeys, the government has abandoned its plan to allow all schoolchildren to return to school before the summer break, with only a few classes having reopened in early June. A decision worth the government a round of criticism.
“We have a big plan to get all the kids back to school by September,” said Boris Johnson.
He promised “a big catch-up” this summer, the leaders of the sector and associations fighting against racism believing that home lessons will widen inequalities, because they harm more disadvantaged children who do not always have access to computers or whose schools sometimes offer fewer online courses.
In the House of Commons, Boris Johnson also had to defend himself against the leader of the Labor opposition, Keir Starmer. “Last week, the Prime Minister said he was proud of the government’s record,” said the minister. “But there is no pride in these numbers, is there?”
“We mourn each other and we are sorry for them as well as their relatives and friends,” said Boris Johnson in a sour exchange. But “when it comes to what this country has done to fight the epidemic, I have to say that I don’t agree at all with the way you put it.”
And to quote “the incredible success” of the public health service (NHS) which built emergency field hospitals – which ultimately were practically unused – or the “incredible” way in which the country has mobilized to allow “to have the virus under control”.
But Boris Johnson is far from convincing public opinion. According to a YouGov poll, only 32% of Britons approve of government action, a percentage that has been declining for the fifth week in a row.