What is phase 2 of coronavirus response? What Boris Johnson has said about easing lockdown restrictions as UK enters second stage of tackling coronavirus

On April 27 the Prime Minister announced that the UK was nearing phase 2 in its response to the coronavirus pandemic

The government haven't explicitly said what phase of their response to the coronavirus pandemic would look like (Getty Images)
The government haven't explicitly said what phase of their response to the coronavirus pandemic would look like (Getty Images)

Speaking outside Number 10 Downing Street in his first public address since he was hospitalised with coronavirus the Prime Minister said that the UK was “turning the tide” against the virus.

Mr Johnson said there are signs that the UK is "passing through the peak" of the outbreak and "coming now to the end of the first phase of this conflict".

The Prime Minister compared the disease to a mugger, saying: "This is the moment when we have begun, together, to wrestle it to the floor."

So what exactly is the next phase of the coronavirus referred to by the Prime Minister?

What is phase one coronavirus pandemic response?

The first phase which Mr Johnson claimed was coming to an end refers to the peak of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK will have moved beyond the first phase once five tests are met according to the government, these are; ensuring the NHS can cope, a sustained a consistent fall in death rate, rate of inffection decreasing to a manageable level, increasing testing capcity and PPE supply, and eliminating the chance of a second peak. And what is phase two?

The second phase which Boris Johnson refers to are the plans which will be in place beyond the current strict lockdown period.

Phase two would see the government continuing to use social distancing methods in order to suppress the spread of the virus and minimise the rate of infection.

The government has provided limited information on what the loosening of lockdown measure would look like to the public, but have always underlined that they will be ‘guided by the science’.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already revealed the approach that a Scottish government would take when entering the so-called second phase.

Ms Sturgeon indicated that group gatherings could be banned for some time and that the removal of lockdown measures would likely be “phased”.

Germany, Italy and Spain have all opted for a phased lockdown exit.

Shops in Germany with 800 sq m are allowed to reopen from Monday, while in Spain some non-essential industry workers have now been allowed to return to their jobs.

Coronavirus: The Facts

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus and is spread primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.

What are the symptoms?

The NHS states that you should not leave the home if you have either:

• a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

• a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

What should I do if I feel unwell?

Don’t go to your GP but instead look online at the coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and what to do next. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

What precautions can be taken?

Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly. The NHS also advises to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze; put used tissues in the bin immediately and try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell. Also avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.

When can I go outside?

The Government has put the UK into lockdown and instructed everyone to stay at home. You should only leave your home for very limited purposes:

• shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible

• one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household

• any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

• travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

However, these reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.