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The Government’s response to Covid-19 crisis is confused and dangerous. On Monday Boris Johnson said
The UK has been put on lockdown for at least three weeks to combat the coronavirus outbreak, with police being given the power to fine people who break new emergency social rules.
In an unprecedented TV address to the nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people must remain in their homes and can only leave in limited circumstances: to shop for food, exercise once a day, travel to work, and pick up medicine or care for a vulnerable person.
Johnson said all shops selling non-essential items will be forced to close, including clothing and electronic stores, while gatherings of more than two people will be dispersed by police. He added that social events such as weddings and baptisms will be banned, meaning people can only gather in large groups for funerals.
“You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say ‘No,’” Johnson added. “You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home. You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine — and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.”
The prime minister, who delivered his message straight down the barrel of a camera in a message broadcast on the BBC and elsewhere, concluded: “I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives. Thank you.”
Very quickly after this the government watered down this ‘advisory’ lockdown even when it became apparent that the advice was unheeded by many and crowds went out to celebrate this new prolonged national holiday in the sunshine. So the current advice about going to work on the GOV website
“As set out in the section on staying at home, people can travel to and from work, but only where the work they do absolutely cannot be done from home.
With the exception of the organisations covered above in the section on closing non-essential shops and public spaces, the Government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on.
Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.
Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services.
“If you cannot work from home then you can still travel to work, provided you are well and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.”
So again it is up to individuals employers and employees to decide whether it is safe.
I am sorry, but lockdown means lockdown, travel only if it is essential to the effort of keeping people alive and the virus contained. Dithering at this phase is exactly what will prolong the crisis you have to hit this very hard early as the Chinese have done, otherwise you will just prolong the agony.