The number of coronavirus deaths is still rising—and will continue doing so for the next week.

But attention in government is already shifting to how does the UK get out of this crisis. What is the exit strategy?

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The economic costs of the lockdown are becoming horribly clear.

In the past fortnight alone, 850,000 more people than usual have applied for universal credit.

Senior figures in government are petrified by how high that number will go if these restrictions remain in place until the autumn.

So, the government needs a route out.

Boris Johnson says that testing is the answer.

He is half right: testing for the disease would allow better treatment and an antibody test would give us an idea of how many people have had the virus.

But even if the UK hits its target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month, that would not be enough to allow a South Korean-style ‘test, trace and track’ approach.

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This is why some in government are beginning to think that if the number of deaths is falling by the end of the month and with NHS capacity having being significantly increased by the Nightingale hospitals, it might be sensible to start gradually easing off the restrictions to try and allow a return to some kind of normality .

Ultimately, this debate isn’t about lives v the economy.

But lives vs lives. If we become a permanently poorer country, we won’t be able to afford such a good health service and more people will die early because of that.


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