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Unlocking England: will Boris Johnson's Covid gamble pay off?

Letters
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Reuters</span>
Photograph: Reuters

I have two major issues with Boris Johnson’s plan to unlock England (Step by step: how England’s Covid lockdown will be lifted, 22 February). First, he says it is about data not dates, but the plan has dates that people will set in stone despite caveats, and it has no data-based quantifiable targets that have to be met before each stage progresses. There is no requirement for deaths, hospitalisations or infections to be lower than specific amounts, so at the appropriate points he will be subject to the political pressures from his lunatic wing to continue to open up even if the data does not justify it.

Second, he is planning to remove all social restrictions from June, before all adults have been vaccinated. Just imagine the possibility for outbreaks as a result of several hundred unvaccinated young adults dancing in a badly ventilated, crowded nightclub. And these outbreaks will then spread to their families, who will not have 100% protection even if they have been vaccinated. This is unbelievably risky.
David Murray
Aldershot, Hampshire

• Your editorial says: “Would it not be better to insure against the worst outcome by stamping out the virus with a zero-Covid strategy? The answer is surely yes, prime minister” (22 February). Of course. This is not just more lockdowns, because aiming for zero Covid means local track and trace, effective isolation, safe workplaces and financial support for those who have to stay home. It means backing workers’ organisations in their calls for health and safety, and listening to the teaching unions’ warnings. It means longer-term guarantees of adequate social security, protection for tenants against evictions and an end to the hostile environment that underlines the barriers to recovery. So zero Covid and zero poverty and inequality.
John Nicholson
Manchester

• Boris Johnson has created a two-tier system of holidays. There is a split in school Easter holiday dates, with some education authorities having holidays starting on 26 March and returning to school on 12 April, while other areas commence on 2 April and return on 19 April. So those in the latter group can enjoy a week’s self-catering holiday from 12 April, but those in the former cannot. Seems unfair. Is this what Boris intended? If he was just checking the schools he knows, Eton is in the latter group.
Mike Taylor
Buckingham

• The government has put shielding families in an invidious position. My son is due to go back to school two full months before my husband, who’s clinically extremely vulnerable, will have antibodies from the second dose of his vaccination, yet we will be fined if he doesn’t return. If the prime minister can tell me how to make shielding work in a small house with a six-year-old and a baby, I’d love to know.
Katherine Conlon
London

• Boris Johnson’s tousled mop seems to be a badge of honour. He wants us to know that he is suffering as much as we are. Hair clippers are easily available and effective. He could dispense with the dedicated ruffling and look both tidy and convincing. At the moment he is neither.
Sally Salvesen
London

• The unlocking plan tells us that from 8 March two friends will be allowed to meet for coffee outdoors. I’m wondering when two tea drinkers will be given the same opportunity.
John Machin
Leeds