In his first speech since falling ill, Boris Johnson has said this is the point the UK is at maximum risk from COVID-19, despite being past or nearly past the peak.
Johnson took the opportunity to highlight “there are real signs now we are passing through the peak” of coronavirus following a sustained plateau in the number of death in the UK and a reduction in the number of new cases.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says “there are real signs now we are passing through the peak” of the coronavirus outbreak “thanks to our collective national resolve”https://t.co/5bxxzw13mR pic.twitter.com/whkrC5doVO
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) April 27, 2020
The speech came just as countries such as Spain and Italy begin to reopen their economies after strict lockdowns.
Over the weekend Spain allowed children outside for the first time in five weeks and Italy has said certain businesses will reopen 4th May.
There is pressure on the UK government to provide guidelines on current lockdown measures given the raft announcements from other countries.
The UK government also has another headache in the target it set itself of 100,000 tests per days by the end of April.
With it looking highly doubtful the government will hit this self-imposed target, Boris Johnson is likely to receive criticism in his first week back in the job ass the country grows restless under social distances rules.
Johnson did make reference to a possible announcement this week on what the lifting of measures could look like but made no comment on timings.
“We cannot spell out now how fast, or slow or even when those changes will be made” says @BorisJohnson. Though in coming days he promises to share emerging thinking on how to modify lockdown
— Robert Peston (@Peston) April 27, 2020
Despite any action taken this week, critics will have hard numbers to target the UK government’s handling of the COVID-19.
With deaths surpassing 20,000, the UK now has recorded nearly as many deaths as Italy and Spain whilst other European countries such as Germany and Sweden have kept their death rates remarkably low.
Germany has managed to keep deaths from coronavirus to just 5,750 despite having a similar sized population as the UK.
Sweden forewent strict lockdown measures yet has only recorded 2,200 deaths.
In addition to the tragic human cost of coronavirus, the economic cost will likely be higher than it could of been due to the ineffectiveness of business loans made through banks and time it took to roll out the furlough scheme.
The government is being blamed for the poor uptake of Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Just 16,000 loans have been made in the UK as France’s equivalent loan scheme has made 250,000.