Full easing of Covid restrictions on 21 June looks unlikely

The prospect of the final easing of lockdown restrictions in England going ahead precisely as planned on 21 June is close to nil, according to ministers and officials. ‘It is clear some social distancing will have to be retained, not everything we’ve set out for 21 June is likely to happen,’ said a government adviser. ‘But it is also possible some of the easing we’ve done today will have to be reversed.’  Neither he nor a minister would be drawn on precisely which parts of the planned unlocking may have to be delayed, or which aspects of unlocking that’s already happened would need rolling back. Even 10 per cent less

Can the PM sustain his vague lockdown timetable?

Boris Johnson doesn’t have as angry a Conservative party to deal with as he might have expected after announcing his third national lockdown. The Covid Recovery Group of MPs has largely moved on from opposing further restrictions to putting pressure on the government over its vaccine timetable, meaning any revolt on tonight’s vote will be much smaller than the 55 who rebelled against the tiered system in December. But that’s not to say that the Prime Minister can afford to be careless with the way he communicates with MPs, and his statement in the Commons today showed that. He opened by telling MPs that there was a ‘fundamental difference between the

The dangers of comparing different countries’ death rates

Using differences in coronavirus death rates between countries to draw out policy conclusions is becoming a very popular pastime. Unfortunately, as Michael Baum has pointed out already in The Spectator, it is rarely a productive one. Over the weekend, Dr Elaine Doyle of the University of Limerick tried her hand, arguing that high death rates in the UK relative to Ireland reflected badly on the UK policy approach to tackling the virus. At the time of writing, the UK has reported 12,868 hospital deaths of coronavirus patients, a rate of about 193 per million, while the Republic had reported 435 hospital deaths, a much lower rate of about 89 per million. But the UK