Tuesday, January 25

May 20, 2020 – What was the UK doing while attendee No. 10 was throwing a party? | Coronavirus


To many, May 2020 may seem like a lifetime ago, as a lot has happened in the last 20 months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On May 20, 2020, when the Prime Minister’s private secretary invited his colleagues to bring their own socially distanced beverage in Garden No. 10 to “make the most of this lovely weather”, the rest of the country was in a position to very different. .

They didn’t mix indoors, nonessential shops were closed, and pubs and other hospitality businesses remained closed.

Such was the strangeness of the times, that people cheered the reopening of McDonald’s supermarkets as more than 30 locations tested a gradual reopening of the fast food chain.

The prime minister had recently announced a slight relaxation of confinement rules: as of May 13, 2020, two people from separate households were allowed to meet outdoors in a public place, such as a park, provided they were kept together. 2 meters away.

Police forces were actively reminding the public to adhere to the rule, a challenge given on May 20, 2020 was the hottest day of the year so far.

Just two days later, on May 22, 2020, The Guardian published its first exclusive revelation that the police had spoken with the prime minister’s former adviser, Dominic Cummings, about breaching government shutdown rules after they saw him. in Durham, 264 miles from his home in London. despite having had symptoms of Covid-19. The story sparked an outcry.

The orientation allowing the “rule of six” outdoors was not introduced until June 2020 and large gatherings remained banned.

All this was reinforced by the then secretary of culture, now chairman of the Conservative Party, Oliver Dowden, at the daily Downing Street press conference on May 20.

He said: “You can meet a person outside your home in a public place outdoors as long as they stay 2 meters apart.”

But alone, or with his home, “now you can spend time outside and exercise as often as you like.”

He reminded viewers of the “first step” changes to the rules, which said that those who couldn’t work from home should now talk to their employer about going back to work.

All of this was in the context of the ever-increasing statistics that many know all too well. On May 20, 2020, there were 9,953 people hospitalized with coronavirus. Another 363 deaths were announced, bringing the total at that time to 35,704.

Dowden announced the launch of the Covid Alert Level System, with its five levels, each related to the level of threat posed by the virus. At the time, the country was preparing to move from level 3 to level 4. Twenty months later, we returned to level 4 after the appearance of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus.

Dowden promoted the latest government slogan: “Stay alert, control the virus, save lives.”

He explained how the public could “stay alert” by working from home if possible, limiting contact with other people, keeping a distance of 2 meters when possible, washing their hands regularly and covering their face in closed spaces.

Elsewhere, the prime minister was enraging Britain’s foreign health care workforce with his refusal to exempt them from an NHS visa surcharge.

The next day, in the first major U-turn of his term as prime minister, he announced that this would no longer apply, capitulated to mounting anger from activists and opposition from members of his own party.




www.theguardian.com

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