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A year too late, Boris Johnson produces a reasonable plan | John Crace

After thousands of deaths, it was a more careful PM who unveiled England’s route out of lockdownLast April the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick

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After thousands of deaths, it was a more careful PM who unveiled England’s route out of lockdown

Last April the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said that 20,000 dead would be a “good outcome”. Almost a year on with the coronavirus death rate now north of 120,000 and the government having twice bungled its way out of previous lockdowns, you can see why the prime minister might want to avoid making the same mistakes with his roadmap out of England’s current restrictions. So for his statement to the Commons, we were treated to a rather different Boris Johnson than the usual one. A more careful Boris that was fighting the urge to make extravagant promises.

This time, he insisted, his approach would be dictated by caution. Though for a prime minister who was adamant that his approach this time would be driven by the data rather than the dates, his statement was very date heavy. There was 8 March for the full return of schools and friends delivering dead letter drops on park benches. There was 29 March for the return of the outdoor rule of six. Non-essential retail, hairdressers – Boris’s Dennis the Menace barnet is in urgent need of a rethink – and holiday lets on 12 April. Indoor hospitality and some larger events on 17 May. A return to normal: 21 June. There would be no escape for those hoping to avoid the disco night at the Lib Dem party conference.

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