The UK implemented a complete lockdown on 24 March to prevent a spike in Covid-19 cases that would overload ICUs and potentially cause half a million deaths. HM Treasury announced a powerful package of measures to put the economy into an induced coma – preventing workers being laid off and companies going under – until suppression measures can be lifted.
A fortnight on, our understanding has evolved in two ways:
Experience around the world suggests that easing off the lockdown measures even slightly, without any other accompanying containment plan, would accelerate the spread to an unmanageable degree. Complete lockdown is currently the only option available.
Meanwhile rapidly rising unemployment suggests that even the Treasury’s extensive support measures may not be able to prevent severe long-term economic damage.
Consequently, once new case numbers are reduced, there is an urgent need to find an exit strategy from the lockdown that limits the health damage while allowing the economy to revive. This paper outlines some options and the trade-offs involved. It is accompanied by a second paper on the importance of mass testing, Covid-19 Testing in the UK: Unpicking the Lockdown.
Click here to read our full paper: Suppression Exit Strategies: Options for Lifting Lockdown Measures in the UK