THE publication of the government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy this week was an important step forward, setting out how it plans to rebuild the UK, protect the health and safety of the British public and save lives and livelihoods.

Our success in containing the virus so far has been hard-fought and hard-won – and it’s vital that we proceed with the utmost care in the next phase and avoid undoing what we have achieved.

The aim is to return life to as close to normal as possible, for as many people as possible, as fast and fairly as possible, in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.

The new Covid Alert Level System, which takes into account the rate of infection (R) and the number of cases, will help to chart our progress over the coming weeks and months and determine if social distancing measures can be adjusted. 

Going forward, the launch of the new NHS app and progress in testing and tracing will be crucial in isolating cases and controlling the spread of the virus.

In step one of its plan, the government has been able to cautiously lift some lockdown restrictions this week, such as reopening garden centres, golf courses and other sports facilities and enabling people to take more exercise outside and meet one person from outside their household, provided they are outdoors. 

Step 2, if conditions allow and by 1 June at the earliest, could see the phased reopening of some shops and the return of primary pupils to school, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6. 

Step three, if conditions allow and by 4 July at the earliest, could see the reopening of at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing. 

This  haspandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge in countries all over the world and people across the South West should be proud of the part they have played in responding to it, especially our amazing key workers. 

Though we will be changed by this experience, we can be stronger and better than ever before. For now, we must stay alert, control the virus and save lives.


Chairman, South West Conservatives