The Prime Minister is to make a statement on Sunday evening regarding the easing of Lockdown restrictions in England, following announcements made by First Ministers for their countries. Hitherto the message has been simple, ‘Stay at home, and only go out if you have to, or for an hour’s daily exercise’. No one can be sure whether taking a particular step to ease restrictions is entirely safe, or carries the risk of further spreading the infection. Retaining social distancing until there is an effective vaccine will be complicated to operate. Some people are worried about the risks of catching the virus if restrictions are eased. Others are desperate to get back to work/ get their business up and running again. Some are desperate to get out and about, and some feel that they are no more at risk the day they turned 70 than the day before when they were 69. The lockdown restrictions will need to be relaxed gradually taking all of those – and other – factors into account. It will be a nuanced approach, with no simple slogan this time. It appears likely too that for the next few weeks and months there will be slight differences in approach within each of the four nations of the United Kingdom. Conveying this to the wider population requires clarity and transparency on the part of politicians, officials and the media. Resorting to political point-scoring, party/ personal/ organisation agendas will not help, and could potentially put lives at risk.
Lord, the next few weeks and months will be difficult for politicians required to manage the easing of lockdown restrictions, and of popular expectations. May they be open to your guiding, and always strive for what is best for everyone. Help all who are involved in informing people what and why decisions are made to strive for clarity and transparency
PS Sunday marks the start of Christian Aid Week, that will shape next week’s Thought for the day