So last week, boris johnson was talking about ending legal restrictions and then there’d be a big focus on personal responsibility. And yes, those legal restrictions today are going to be lifted from next week. But then there will be a big nudge from the state, so let’s just do a compare and contrast over the week. So last week on masks, the prime minister was saying: guidance will suggest where you might choose where to wear a mask. The guidance now says the government expects and recommend the wearing of mast in crowded areas such as transport on covet certificates. The government last week said these would not be required as a condition of entry to any venue or event, although businesses could certainly make use of them. Now the government is saying it’s going to encourage and support business to use these certificates in high risk settings and if that’s not done properly, then the government may well mandate their use. So let’s just take a look at the highly cautious, boris johnson, because the uh, the the legal restrictions have come off. Uh should not be taken as an invitation by everybody uh simply to have a great uh jubilee and uh freedom from uh from any kind of caution or restraint that’s. What we’re saying i think, um what the scientists are saying is. This is the right date or is as good as any other date to do this, but it’s got to be taken seriously, so that’s what the scientists say: what’s the science that lies behind it, nick yes, so to understand that let’s just turn to the minutes of A meeting of the scientific advisory group on emergencies on the 7th of july.
They of course advise the governments now, on balance, they made clear that they do support the opening up because they are concerned that you could then delay the wave into the autumn winter. When, obviously, the nhs would find it much more difficult, but then let’s just take a look at this language in uh their minutes. The peak of the resurgence will, however, be much lower if the return to pre pandemic behaviors is gradual than if it’s, rapid and they’re then saying that if the aim is to prevent the nhs being under pressure, the priority should be to avoid a very rapid return To pre pandemic behavior now let’s look at their the importance they attach to the so called non medical interventions. That’S things like mask wearing look at this. Maintaining interventions such as more people working from home, the use of marks in crowded indoor spaces and increasing ventilation would contribute to transmission reduction and therefore reduce the number of hospitalizations nick thanks very much indeed well in a moment, we’ll be discussing all that more than looking With a labour and conservative mp, but first to explore why nobody is quite sure where we’re headed here’s, our health, correspondent, deb cohen, Music, the big gamble is underway after 15 months of covid restrictions affecting all of our lives today, confirmation that these will end in a Week’S time, new models show that there’s a great deal of uncertainty in how covid19 will pan out in the coming weeks, it’s difficult to predict the complex interplay between relaxing restrictions, vaccine roll out and a new variant.
But if we don’t relax restrictions now, then, when there isn’t necessarily scientific consensus in the lancet last week, some scientists cautioned. We believe this decision is dangerous and premature, but others are less certain. They say no strategy is risk free. I think we’ve got to open up sooner rather than later, we’ve done as much as we can to stop people dying on their first infection, and i think you know, i think the um delaying restrictions at the moment – aren’t justified and could be more harmful in the Long run, there are other issues beyond covert to consider, including an immunity debt where people don’t develop immunity to other viruses suppressed by covert lockdowns, causing cases to increase down the line. If this goes on much longer the longer it goes on and the longer that we keep these infections at bay, ultimately it’s quite likely that the more severe disease we will see from not just kobe but a whole range of other infections that some of which we Have vaccines for some of which we don’t one of the main pinch points has been the nhs there are worries about how it will cope, particularly in winter, when these kinds of infections tend to be worse, we could be incredibly lucky under cautious approach. We’Ll actually see um, there are sort of quite plausible outcomes in which we see around very little covert, but there are quite quite plausible ones in which we see an awful lot and comparable amounts to the previous waves.
Many scientists argue that this coronavirus is here to stay. It’Ll come into some sort of equilibrium in society. We are going to get covered repeatedly from now on through the rest of our lives, seeing that already in the shift of symptoms right that people describe – and it will just be another cause of the common cold and probably won’t – have that big, an impact for the Nhs – and we can see that already happening, because people have second infections with the virus, which is becoming increasingly common aren’t, actually that sick, the second time around, but when exactly we get to this point is unclear and scientists are debating what policies should be in place To ensure that people are protected as much as possible, i think there are no easy answers, but i think there are a few things we’re actually still not doing, for example, barriers to quarantining when ill. We know that if you just provide people with financial and actually probably slightly under discussed emotional support for that isolation, procedure, emotional and social support, as well as financial and employment, that that is extremely effective, removing barriers to vaccination. Like i said everyone will agree. That is a thing that’s worth doing and actually not an easy answer, because it requires a lot of work. So there are a few of these things that, while well, potentially they they cost some money and take some effort are not actually terribly controversial in terms of what their effectiveness will be.
Well, scientists continue to debate the best way forward. The next few weeks will really show how the gamble of full reopening pays off that was deb cone joining us now, alison mcgovern, the labour mp and shadow minister for digital culture, media and sport and peter bone conservative mp for wellingborough um thanks very much for joining Us alison mcgovern, can i start with you would? Would you say you know how to behave next week in england once the laws have ended? Well, i think i hope i know how to behave, and you know i’m sure that my um, the details will be um uploaded online and we can all do that thing where, where we check um and so that we’re clear in our own minds, i think the Bigger problem for me is that we seem to have gone from freedom day to you know, please everyone be cautious in a few short weeks, and i think that will be confusing for people, so we do need to make sure that people understand how to keep each Other safe sorry, so what does the bit that you disagree with, then? Is it the freedom day or is it the cautiousness um? I i would have preferred a different approach from the prime minister. You know we’ve been asking for more transparency over data um. For some time – and you know boring though it is to repeat myself – it’s because that’s, how you build trust and confidence with the public, and i think there’s been more concern for their political messaging um.
And you know managing that this issue, politically than there has for making sure that with people are really clear about our best knowledge about what’s happening with the virus. I think that’s the way that that’s the way that support for the measures could have been maintained. You’Ve heard the scientists we’ve all heard the scientists. We can all read the sage minutes and see the data there would labor be doing anything different bluntly. Would you be saying to the public don’t have parties don’t move inside if it’s raining it’s better to cancel, rather than have a big group gathering inside what what would you be putting out as your message that you think would make this clearer? Then, if people are confused, we would be doing things differently and on masks. For example, you know i speak to shop workers, particularly in world who are concerned already about you, know people wearing them they’re in a vulnerable position um if people are not wearing them. So we need to keep doing the basics well, and one of those is wearing masks, there’s other things that were actually mentioned in the report and helping people to self isolate, because still too many people can’t access financial support that is available and getting resources to local Authorities, you know only this week, my own local authority has been out making sure that they’re really targeting vaccination resources. You know encouraging people in local areas where take up is low, doing that hard work to make sure that we get this response right doing the basics.
Well – and i don’t think there has been nearly enough emphasis on that from that okay, so it’s about emphasis rather than changing things. Let me ask peter bone um, whether you heard a different tone from boris johnson today or whether for you. This is this. Does mark freedom day, i think it marks freedom day and i don’t think we really. I didn’t notice a different tone. I i i noticed really that the labour party is fully behind these proposals, except for making mandatory use of mars and to suggest that they’re miles apart from the government. I think it is absurd, so i think this is freedom day. The truth is two months ago. The major unlocking occurred when we could mix at home wherever we we could go into pubs and restaurants. We could go to cinemas and schools were in full flow, so i think the major unlocking has been done. This just gets rid of the last remaining regulations and it’s the right thing to do, except you just heard from allison that the question about mandatory mosques is a pretty crucial one, because it’s not freedom for the person who has to take the crowded bus who has To clean up the nightclub, who has to be surrounded by people who have made the choice not to wear a mask which could put them in danger when they’re going about their daily job? Well, the difference between alison and myself and i think, it’s, probably a fundamental one as she believes the state knows best and i believe the individual knows best and i think personal responsibility will come through.
I think there’s an opinion poll that says about 71 percent of the british people will continue to wear a face mask and i will wear a face mask where it’s appropriate if i’m, in a crowd, so you will carry a face mask with you at all times. In case you’re in a in a crowded place, well, certainly, if i, if i’m trapped i’m traveling on a train, if there’s an empty carriage or there’s very few people in there, i won’t wear a mask. But if i’m in a a crowded carriage, i would wear a motion, but i will make other judgments. I mean if i’m going to the local pub and it’s packed, i probably won’t, go in there. I will make those judgment calls. I you know i’m going on on holiday for a week in norfolk this year, because i decided that was a better environment will be less crowded than some other results, so i think everyone will make their own decisions. Freedom of the british people is is fundamental and there is no reason whatsoever now to keep these regulations in place alison. Do you think that peter trusts, the british people um to get this right more than you? Do? I think that it’s between me and peter is not about whether we trust the british people because, as he said, um surveys show that the vast majority of british people are happy to take steps like wearing masks for the people.
The difference between us is that i know that covid might be able to infect anybody equally, but the impact of it is not equal and whether it was the underfunding you know of our nhs. That meant we went into this uh pandemic ill prepared or whether it was the high number of people who work on zero hours, contract or work in an environment where you know they don’t have a lot of sale or control about what their job is like. I know that this pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on those people and i’m afraid. I think that the tories are not concerned enough about the welfare of those people, and i think that is the difference between us peter bone. When you hear sage scientists modeling, there could be 2 000 hospitalizations a day at the peak of mid august, when you say that um here chris whittie say they’re set to meet all four tests, but he was unsure of preventing unsustainable pressure on the nhs. What happens in your mind if the nhs is overwhelmed? Well, i think the scientists have all agreed that we should unlock now and that the great success of the vaccination program, something allison didn’t, mention a huge world leading vaccination program. That’S put us ahead to my question: what happens if the nhs is overwhelmed? Would you say it’s right then, to to retrieve the answer i will? But if you want to talk about the vaccination program, i want to answer that question, which is what chris wishy said today.
Unsustainable pressure on the nhs is the thing he’s worried about? Yes, but that’s right if i’m allowed to answer the vaccination program is the answer to that question. The vaccination program has broken the link between transmission of disease and serious illnesses and deaths, so it’s a successive vaccination program that lets us move forward so he’s wrong. If he says there could be unsustainable pressure on the nhs, do you think chris whitty’s wrong then to raise that point? No, the scientists are not wrong to say if that a left field event occurs, that we are not aware of or expecting the government will have to react to it, but there’s no evidence of that at all so it’s. It looks very positive and it’s not all about cove but it’s about the economy. It’S about jobs and it’s people about people’s mental health covert is just one illness that we have to deal with.