Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been warned by the hospitality industry that it faces complete collapse unless the lockdown is lifted. Cabinet ministers are making the case to relax the two-metre rule both privately and publicly in order to save pubs, restaurants, and other food industry venues. According to The Times, last night a senior Government official spoke about the possibility of a second wave of the virus, the said, “we can get the prevalence right down but it won’t much matter if it all comes roaring back.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also weighed in to claim that 3.5 million jobs are on the line if the lockdown is not relaxed soon.
But, the Prime Minister is still cautious and this concern is echoed by one cabinet minister who said that the R number, the rate of transmission for coronavirus, remained “stubbornly high”.
The minister said: “I would hope to see the change in July when the pubs reopen.
“Boris is an intelligent man; it’s been made very clear to him by the industry what is required.
“Hospitality could be decimated.
“If we could just get the R number down to 0.6 or 0.5 it would be a huge help.
“Rishi and others are very clear that this needs to change.
“Of course, all these people going out protesting is not going to help.”
Parts of England, especially the southwest of the country have experienced a disturbing rise in the r rate.
SAGE scientists have reported that the r rate is slightly higher than the UK average of between 0.7 and 0.9 in seven UK regions.
In the southwest of England, SAGE put it between 0.8 and 1.1.
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7.20am update: There have been more than 292,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and just over 41,000 people have died, government figures show.
However, these numbers only include people who have been tested, and the total number of deaths relating to coronavirus is likely to be higher.