June 23rd saw the last of the UK government’s daily briefings on the Covid-19 pandemic but why have the briefings been cancelled?
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we live our lives considerably over the past few months.
From having to stay at home for all but the essentials, the closing of schools and even the cancellation of most sporting events, 2020 will be remembered as one of the most troubling years in recent memory.
However, according to the Conservative government, we’re well past the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak here in the UK, so much so that we’re seeing a raft of measures being put in place to ease the recent lockdown and return life to normal or at least a new kind of normal.
The government are seemingly confident enough in their strategy, despite an official death toll that is the third highest in the world, that even the daily coronavirus briefings are coming to an end.
The daily briefings have been a staple of lockdown life but why are they ending now?
The government’s daily briefings are ending
As part of Boris Johnson’s most recent address, the Prime Minister announced a swathe of lockdown-easing measures that include the reopening of pubs, bars, cinemas and hairdressers among others.
This also came with the news that the two-metre social distancing rule that has been in-place since lockdown began would be reduced to just one metre plus mitigations such as face coverings.
Once Mr Johnson had explained this and that ‘we’re beating back the virus,’ came the announcement that the daily briefings, plus grillings from members of the press, would also be coming to an end following the address on June 23rd.
It comes after the number of daily briefings was lowered with weekend briefings brought to an end in early June.
Why are the briefings ending?
- As part of the announcement that the briefings were ending, no reason was explicitly given from either the Prime Minister or government officials.
A government spokesman was quoted in iNews on Tuesday, June 23rd saying: “From today, the press conferences will no longer be daily. We’ll continue to hold press conferences to coincide with significant announcements, including with the Prime Minister.
“We will be publishing all of the data which has previously been included in the press conference slides on gov.uk every weekday.”
The message that many will take from this is that with lockdown restrictions easing, the government, which claims that their strategy is working, is taking a step back to let the British public police themselves when it comes to controlling the spread of the virus.
Whether this strategy and the speedy lifting of lockdown restrictions works remains to be seen.
Comment: Covid-19 hasn’t disappeared
The rapid easing of lockdown measures, plus the ending of the daily briefings, could almost be seen as the government washing their hands of the whole matter and leaving it up to the British public to control whether there’ll be a second wave of the disease.
We welcome the reopening of many locations such as restaurants and cinemas but there’s still a considerable feeling that it is far too early to be doing so.
When the UK went into lockdown on March 23rd, there were 48 officially recorded deaths and while on June 23rd there were just 15 deaths, earlier this week we’ve seen as many as 233 people lose their lives to Covid-19.
In terms of new cases, March 23rd saw 669 cases confirmed whereas June 23rd saw a rise of 958, almost 300 more than when we went into lockdown.
That is categorical proof that this disease has not gone away and the government’s apparent belief that it has could well be the catalyst to a far more fatal second wave.