19:06 GMT26 September 2020
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    COVID-19 Puts Nations on Hold (286)
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    England’s Chief Medical Officer Sir Chris Witty has stated that socially disruptive lockdown measures could be enforced in the UK throughout the rest of 2020 in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Britain went into full lockdown on 23 March for an initial three-week period, and the measures have since been extended.

    Journalist David Lindsay gave his views on how long it will be before civilian life in the UK gets back to normal.

    Sputnik: How long will the UK’s coronavirus lockdown be in place?

    David Lindsay: We are nowhere near ending it at all, and some sort of measures will be in place certainly until the end of this calendar year. They will not necessarily be as strenuous as they are at the moment, but there will be something in terms of social distancing and so forth.

    Sputnik: What are the risks associated with ending the coronavirus lockdown too early?

    David Lindsay: The main danger in this, if danger is the word, is political rather than medical. If the lockdown were to be lifted relatively early and then there were to be a spate of deaths from COVID-19, especially since they are likely to be older people who can be presented fairly sympathetically in the popular media and so on, that would have devastating political consequences for this government - and for Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock personally.

    That’s why they won’t do it, and I tend to be glad that they won’t do it because they are following medical evidence, that is their reason. But as politicians and political people, it would be politically devastating for them if the aforementioned scenario were to happen.

    Sputnik: Can the British government realistically continue to pay workers’ wages during the coronavirus pandemic?

    David Lindsay: In its present form they will only really be able to do so until about the autumn, after that the amount of wages that they will be able to cover will drop to around fifty percent, and at that point people’s employers will say “ if I’m now paying fifty percent, then I want fifty percent of your time”. Things then would really have to change.

    This has, however, changed the nature of the British economic system in a way as the provision of universal healthcare during the Second World War, because people were fighting a war, created a situation in which the NHS became inevitable.

    Likewise, we are moving towards a situation in which something like a universal basic income will become inevitable, because people have just got used to the state making that kind of provision for them in one form or another.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    COVID-19 Puts Nations on Hold (286)
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    COVID-19, coronavirus, lockdown, UK
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