The lockdown imposed in the UK to slow the spread of Covid-19 has saved many lives. Across Europe, only full lockdown has worked to reduce the reproduction number of Covid-19 below 1, slowing the rate of spread and buying time. But the economic, social and other health consequences of the suppression measures are severe. The Office for Budget Responsibility anticipates a 35 per cent fall in GDP in Q2 if current restrictions remain in force through June, and unemployment is expected to rise by 2 million to 10 per cent. The longer lockdown goes on, the greater the chance of a significant permanent reduction in living standards.
A sustainable strategy for Covid-19 that limits the damage to both public health and the economy is needed. Governments can act by issuing a contingent exit plan outlining the stages involved in reopening, what each stage will mean for different types of businesses and individuals, and the conditions required to move between them. Such a plan, as explained in the paper, would allow businesses and people to plan, and begin to look to the future.
Authors: I. Mulheirn, S. Alvis, L. Insall, J. Browne, C. Palmou
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