Next week the Boris Johnson will set out his “road map” for exiting lockdown, having returned to 10 Downing Street on Sunday.

In today’s government briefing Johnson, whose fiancée recently delivered her first child, stated that the epidemic has passed its peak in the UK. This announcement increases pressure upon the government to release plans for lifting the national lockdown, now in its fifth week.

Praising the public’s “massive collective effort” in adhering to the lockdown, preventing strain upon the NHS, he stated “at no stage has our NHS Been overwhelmed, no patient went without a ventilator, no patient was deprived of intensive care… we are past the peak and on the downward slope.”

Earlier this week, the SNP’s Education Secretary, John Swinney, suggested that students may return on a “staggered basis over the whole school week” so that children would have some form of formal education. However, on Sunday Dominic Raab stated that it would be inconceivable for schools to reopen “without further measures” to check the spread of the virus. Despite this, the UK has not yet met its target of testing 100,000 people a day by the end of April; only 81,611 tests were conducted on Wednesday. 

The UK will be under lockdown until at least the 8th of May, by when the government will have re-evaluated whether it is still necessary. This period of isolation has been successful – the number of patients dying in England peaked on the 8th of April at 863. However, Johnson has made it clear that it is currently too soon to relax the lockdown because we might risk “losing control of that virus”, and that the UK must “unlock the economy gradually.”

What is certain is that Londoners will return to a vastly changed world; global carbon dioxide emissions have fallen to levels last seen ten years ago, and communities have been united in appreciating the efforts of essential workers: those involved in health and social care, education, necessary goods, utilities, transport and other key public services. 

While we all hope for a quick return to normality, Johnson has made it clear that he is “being guided by the science” in his decisions. Until further instructions, we must continue to adhere to the government’s guidelines, which can be viewed here: