Tony Blair think tank urges government to follow Australian and New Zealand lockdown exit strategies

PUBLISHED: 00:01 06 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:52 06 May 2020

The Tony Blair Institute has provided a 'roadmap' for exiting the coronavirus lockdown. Photograph: Sky News.

The Tony Blair Institute has provided a 'roadmap' for exiting the coronavirus lockdown. Photograph: Sky News.

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The Tony Blair Institute has called on ministers to outline a clear strategy out of the coronavirus lockdown or risk even more economic carnage, urging the government to follow approaches taken by Australia and New Zealand.

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The former prime minister’s think tank argued that without clear, detailed exit plans in place, businesses and the public would continue to face crippling uncertainty and a hit to their finances.

In its latest coronavirus case study, the Tony Blair Institute outlined recommendations for pulling the country out of hibernation.

They include setting out the levels of easing they will use and what they will mean for people and business, and building on the current five tests with “triggers, hard metrics and thresholds” to move between levels.

They also urge explaining how expanded containment measures can reduce the risk at each level and tailoring communications to enlist the support of individuals and businesses.

The report also suggested the government follow steps taken by New Zealand and Australia where leaders have been able to sketch out a detailed guide to leaving a lockdown.

They argued that clear messaging would assist companies to prepare for a new operation environment.

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“People need to be able to look to the future and make plans for things like visiting friends and family, changing jobs, moving house or having children,” the report underscored.

Ian Mulheirn, executive director at the Tony Blair Institute, said the government should provide the public with “some sense of what the new normal will be like”.

He said: “The lockdown has saved many lives and is the only measure so far that has controlled the spread of the virus but the economic, social and other health consequences of suppression are severe.”

He added: “The UK needs a sustainable ‘roadmap to exit’ that allows people and businesses to plan ahead and to live with the disease, including preparing for future outbreaks.

“Such a plan will allow the public and businesses to look to the future with some sense of what the new normal will be like.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson will announce changes to shutdown measures on Sunday, after the babinet has reviewed them on Thursday.

The institute insisted that lifting measures could only work if the NHS was ready for a second wave of covid-19 patients and if tests and personal protective equipment were ready readily accessible to everyone.

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