Get a grip of testing, PM, as lockdown remains – The Yorkshire Post says

IT is now clear, in the wake of Boris Johnson’s speech to the nation, that the lifting of the Covid-19 lockdown is not going to happen overnight.

Sunday, 10th May 2020, 6:58 pm
Boris Johnson address the nation from 10 Downing Street last night.

It will take time – and public health concerns forced the PM to revise his plans after suggesting, intemperately, at Prime Minister’s Questions last week that some restrictions would be lifted by this morning.

He has had to think again and should be grateful that the country remains largely compliant since he used his last prime-time TV address seven weeks ago to implore families to ‘stay at home’.

But public patience is becoming strained and Ministers do need to be far clearer in their advice, and objectives, after changing their mantra to ‘stay alert’.

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The Government is still failing to meet its Covid-19 testing targets.

They’re right to recognise the economic anxiety as Britain confronts its worst financial crash in over 300 years – the country will, regrettably and inevitably, never be the same again.

However the very fact that Mr Johnson felt the need to make such a speech, and harness the spirit of Britain expressed so eloquently 
by the Queen on two separate occasions now, also showed that the Government is not yet on top of this pandemic.

Though the PM did warn on March 23 that “many lives will be lost”, no one envisaged that UK-wide number exceeding 30,000 and counting. Neither did they foresee the Government neglecting the plight of the country’s care homes. And nor did they envisage Ministers failing to sufficiently accelerate its mass testing programme for the virus.

Never mind Mr Johnson’s aspiration of 200,000 tests a day, last month’s target of 100,000 has still to be fulfilled.

Public protests have started to take place over testing - and the supply of PPE equipment.

In short, many more lives – and jobs – will be lost until more robust testing arrangements are in place to respond to this national emergency’s unique demands.

It is still the key to unlocking the lockdown. And to paraphrase the PM’s wartime hero Winston Churchill: “Action this day.”

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

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James Mitchinson, Editor