Five tests that must be met before the lockdown is able to be altered were revealed earlier this month, in an online article issued by COBR (Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms). The fifth test, which has been claimed to be the most important, orginially said: “Confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections.”
But it has now emerged the guidance has been tweaked to read: “Confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelms the NHS.”
The change in wording implies a relaxation in the fifth rule, as it suggests that a second peak of some sort would be permitted, as long as it did not “overwhelm” the NHS.
However, the wording of the fifth rule in the later edit is what Dominic Raab had actually stated when he first outlined the rules on April 16.
In a government briefing, he also outlined the fifth rule as: “We must be confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelm the NHS.”
A Number 10 spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “No change to the tests.
“The slide has just been updated to more specifically reflect what Dominic Raab said on April 16: ‘Fifth, and this is really crucial, we need to be confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelm the NHS.'”
Therefore it appears the edit on the COBR site was a correction to more accurately reflect rules that had previously been stated.
In the press briefing, Mr Raab continued: “The worst thing that we could do right now is to ease up too soon, allow a second peak of the virus to hit the NHS and hit the British people.
“It would be the worst outcome not just for public health but for the economy and for our country as a whole.”
Mr Raab also outlined four other rules that the UK must meet before it can relax its lockdown restrictions which have been in place since March 23 in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and take pressure off of the NHS.
The first rule was defined as: “We must protect the NHS’ ability to cope; we must be confident that we’re able to provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment right cross the UK.
“Second, we need to see a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates from coronavirus so we’re confident that we’ve moved beyond the peak.
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“Third, we need to have reliable data from SAGE showing that the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board.
“Fourth, we need to be confident that the range of operational challenges, including testing capacity and PPE, are in hand with supply able to meet future demand.”
There has been some speculation over just how far the UK is from achieving these rules.
There has been some evidence for a number of weeks now showing that the NHS has been able to cope in terms of hospital capacity.
As of Sunday last weekend, the NHS Nightingale hospital in Birmingham had not taken a single patient in since opening 10 days prior.
The temporary hospital is currently able to take 500 patients from 23 hospitals in the Midlands in order to ease pressure off of them.
But the other rules, such as having an adequate supply of PPE and testing, might be a little further from being achieved.
The UK reported 586 deaths from Covid-19 yesterday, up from 360 the day before but down from 813 reported last Saturday.
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