Is it time to move to a more localised approach to lockdown?

Huntergreed

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The initial nationwide lockdown was a necessary step taken by the UK government to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed during the first peak of this crisis. This worked very well from a medical perspective and cases and deaths are now significantly lower than they were two months ago.

However, it’s now becoming clear just how devastating this lockdown was, and is, on the state of our economy. A 20.4% fall in GDP in April alone, one month out of the three we’ve been in lockdown for, is absolutely devastating, and thousands of businesses have closed, causing even more job losses.

I personally feel that, whilst the nationwide lockdown was the correct approach to take for getting through the peak, it’s time to more to a more localised lockdown structure to allow certain aspects of the economy to reopen more where it is safe and to really focus on driving cases down in areas where the virus is still prominent.

Take my region (Dumfries and Galloway) for instance:

We’ve had no new cases for 2 weeks
We’ve had no Covid deaths in a month
Our “R” rate is 0.52, much lower than many regions.

And yet, because we’re in Scotland, all our non essential shops are closed, more businesses are having to close for good everyday, and thousands of jobs have been lost across the region. The education of our children is also being very adversely affected and the schools are remaining shut when there’s been no new cases whatsoever in 15 days.

Because of this, I feel now would be an appropriate time to move to a more localised approach to lockdown, where each council area can implement a more appropriate level of restrictions dependent on the number of cases they have, rather than a nationwide lockdown which is now in my opinion doing more damage than good.

Do you agree that this would be a good time to switch to a more localised approach to lockdown and what would the effects/implications of doing so be?
 
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Yes, yes, and yes again. Unfortunately this viewpoint labels you as someone who views the economy before lives, but we do need to look at the bigger picture. Of course I’m not wishing anyone to die from Covid19 - however people are also dying from other issues, so why should Covid19 take priority now we’re well passed the peak?
 

Skymonster

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Because of this, I feel now would be an appropriate time to move to a more localised approach to lockdown, where each council area can implement a more appropriate level of restrictions dependent on the number of cases they have, rather than a nationwide lockdown which is now in my opinion doing more damage than good.
I'm really not sure that would be a good idea. You only have to look at the mess that has been created with Scotland and Wales having different rules to England - the situation on the trains being case in point, where the legislation would appear to require people travelling into Scotland to wear a mask until the border, and then remove it north of the border, while LNER are seemingly insisting that masks are worn throughout the journey. People really are not going to understand, or even be aware of, where all the local lockdown zones are and what the various rules are. One week people can move from county A to county B and not county C, but next time B is off limits but county C is accessible. You can visit a person in city X but not in city Y. What should we do? Set up roadblocks into restricted areas? Put up massive signs on roads and move them all around as the zones and rules alter? Realistically there needs to be one set of easily understandable rules otherwise there will be more chaos and ever more breaches of the rules.
 

Scrotnig

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Yes, yes, and yes again. Unfortunately this viewpoint labels you as someone who views the economy before lives, but we do need to look at the bigger picture. Of course I’m not wishing anyone to die from Covid19 - however people are also dying from other issues, so why should Covid19 take priority now we’re well passed the peak?
You are up against many who believe everything should be closed and we should all be locked in our houses until nobody has died from the virus for a year. Others say "until there's a vaccine", ignoring the strong possibility that there will never be one.

These people are mostly hysterical Twitter types who think "the government" can fund everything indefinitely.

The frightening part is that these hysterical types have largely driven government policy both in the UK and the devolved regions, as almost every decision seems to have been a reaction to this hysteria which has then been picked up by the media.

Very worrying. I would expect that in a major crisis like this our governments would take sensible decisions in everyone's best interests, not populist nonsense spread by ill informed Twitter types and the media.
 

NorthOxonian

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The initial nationwide lockdown was a necessary step taken by the UK government to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed during the first peak of this crisis. This worked very well from a medical perspective and cases and deaths are now significantly lower than they were two months ago.

However, it’s now becoming clear just how devastating this lockdown was, and is, on the state of our economy. A 20.4% fall in GDP in April alone, one month out of the three we’ve been in lockdown for, is absolutely devastating, and thousands of businesses have closed, causing even more job losses.

I personally feel that, whilst the nationwide lockdown was the correct approach to take for getting through the peak, it’s time to more to a more localised lockdown structure to allow certain aspects of the economy to reopen more where it is safe and to really focus on driving cases down in areas where the virus is still prominent.

Take my region (Dumfries and Galloway) for instance:

We’ve had no new cases for 2 weeks
We’ve had no Covid deaths in a month
Our “R” rate is 0.52, much lower than many regions.

And yet, because we’re in Scotland, all our non essential shops are closed, more businesses are having to close for good everyday, and thousands of jobs have been lost across the region. The education of our children is also being very adversely affected and the schools are remaining shut when there’s been no new cases whatsoever in 15 days.

Because of this, I feel now would be an appropriate time to move to a more localised approach to lockdown, where each council area can implement a more appropriate level of restrictions dependent on the number of cases they have, rather than a nationwide lockdown which is now in my opinion doing more damage than good.

Do you agree that this would be a good time to switch to a more localised approach to lockdown and what would the effects/implications of doing so be?
In theory I agree, but I'll play devil's advocate. If all restrictions were lifted, what's to stop people flooding in from Carlisle, Ayrshire, or further afield? At the moment that's fine but if you start having localised lockdowns then you might have to prevent such travel to stop a local outbreak becoming a national problem.
 

LancasterRed

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You are up against many who believe everything should be closed and we should all be locked in our houses until nobody has died from the virus for a year. Others say "until there's a vaccine", ignoring the strong possibility that there will never be one.

These people are mostly hysterical Twitter types who think "the government" can fund everything indefinitely.

The frightening part is that these hysterical types have largely driven government policy both in the UK and the devolved regions, as almost every decision seems to have been a reaction to this hysteria which has then been picked up by the media.

Very worrying. I would expect that in a major crisis like this our governments would take sensible decisions in everyone's best interests, not populist nonsense spread by ill informed Twitter types and the media.
I assume you mean the hysteria from my fellow scientists?

It is definitely time to move to a localised approach, with the preservation of life being the prevalent factor for the loosening of restrictions.
 

Scrotnig

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I assume you mean the hysteria from my fellow scientists?
Anybody whp suggests we stay locked in our houses indefinitely with the economy closed indefinitely, is being hysterical. It's completely unrealistic on multiple levels. It also may preserve 'life' but it isnt 'living' and you may as well just shoot everyone. That'll stop the virus.
It is definitely time to move to a localised approach, with the preservation of life being the prevalent factor for the loosening of restrictions.
Preservation of life is very important but it's not only the virus that threatens life. Not having a functioning society certainly would, which indefinite strict lockdown would certainly cause.
 

Skymonster

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Because of this, I feel now would be an appropriate time to move to a more localised approach to lockdown, where each council area can implement a more appropriate level of restrictions dependent on the number of cases they have, rather than a nationwide lockdown which is now in my opinion doing more damage than good.
I have almost zero confidence in the government right now as far as the virus is concerned, but I would have even less confidence in the local council doing the right things.
 

nlogax

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Do you agree that this would be a good time to switch to a more localised approach to lockdown and what would the effects/implications of doing so be?
In short, yes.

In longer form.. (sorry :lol:)

A move to local lockdowns has been on the cards for some time and shouldn't be a surprise to anyone when it finally happens. Ideally the sooner the better. ONS indicate there are still 4,500 new infections per day, something mentioned by Hancock this morning on R4. Keeping the restrictions local makes a great deal of sense if we're to get things moving firmly in the right direction while acknowledging that lockdowns still have a part to play with knocking this thing on the head.

Enforcement is where the idea may fall down. Enforcement by way of regional police forces will be inevitable and I don't know if those forces are those have that sort of capacity. It wasn't exactly in plentiful evidence during the harder lockdown weeks in April and May. I highly doubt local councils have that sort of capacity either.
 

MattA7

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As someone who lives in a small rural town I certainly hope not life has been awful since the lockdown. And Scotland’s 5 mile rule and the public transport operators shenanigans mean as long as the restrictions are in place we may as well still be in lockdown.

Some people have no idea Because when they hear of the town they think of this thriving seaside town that’s was popular in the 1970/80s but now it’s just one big desolate run down mess
 

BJames

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Enforcement is where the idea may fall down. Enforcement by way of regional police forces will be inevitable and I don't know if those forces are those have that sort of capacity. It wasn't exactly in plentiful evidence during the harder lockdown weeks in April and May. I highly doubt local councils have that sort of capacity either.
I think I saw something about this being talked about today. How would they shut down local areas and keep the surrounding areas open, unless it's a system based on trust? You'd need to shut down the roads, rail and footpaths but this is clearly not possible because of essential workers and essential journeys. So far as I can see it's not enforcable other than the police setting up checkpoints or stopping at random - but there's not enough of them to do this.

I think this is a complicated idea. Although I agree with the idea in principle, I can't help but think it's going to turn into another "ineffective in practice" type idea. But that said it doesn't make any sense for an area with no cases or deaths in 15 days to remain in total lockdown - maybe we should really spend time investigating how this idea could work, shut down the hotspots and really aggressively target the cases.

On the flip side, it's hard though because as we've seen in New Zealand, there are always flaws in the plan and you just need one person to get through and there's a risk that it could start spreading again. I'm concerned about the idea of lockdown more generally because of this - we can't really get rid of the virus until we establish herd immunity OR all cases in the world are eradicated (likely? I think not) - so we can't just keep locking down towns, boroughs or counties... we'll never get back to normal if we do that.
 

Bletchleyite

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On the flip side, it's hard though because as we've seen in New Zealand, there are always flaws in the plan and you just need one person to get through and there's a risk that it could start spreading again. I'm concerned about the idea of lockdown more generally because of this - we can't really get rid of the virus until we establish herd immunity OR all cases in the world are eradicated (likely? I think not) - so we can't just keep locking down towns, boroughs or counties... we'll never get back to normal if we do that.
We won't get back to normal unless...

1. A vaccine
2. A treatment which brings deaths down to the level of winter flu

...is developed and implemented.

The options are effectively...

1. National social distancing
2. Travel restrictions to stop it getting into places where it presently isn't.

I'd prefer 2 than 1. And the lesson for NZ is that they shouldn't have allowed any exceptions.
 

Bletchleyite

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Simply, yes. Originally, that was one of the reasons for needing a full track & trace system. That system is now going to be fully operational in October. So, any local approach is going to be hampered by that.
Even when it is it's flawed - note the stories about what NZ are doing - tracking down 200-300 contacts for those two individuals. Doing it properly requires deeply invasive interviewing and following on CCTV etc to identify people they don't know they've had contact with. Our service even when fully going appears to be a "ring your mates so you don't have to" service.

It requires highly trained professionals - investigators and interrogators - not minimum wage call centre staff.

Can we do anything right in this country?
 

Freightmaster

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Even when it is it's flawed - note the stories about what NZ are doing - tracking down 200-300 contacts for those two individuals. Doing it properly requires deeply invasive interviewing and following on CCTV etc to identify people they don't know they've had contact with.
Unfortunately, track and trace of type you describe of simply not possible in the UK due to our data protection laws,
which is why TTI can never be more than a token gesture.



MARK
 

Bletchleyite

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Unfortunately, track and trace of type you describe of simply not possible in the UK due to our data protection laws
If we can lock people in their homes, we can (and should) temporarily repeal GDPR as applies to contact tracing, and to heck with the EU if it objects as we are leaving anyway. The secret services are up to it anyway, we'd just be doing it more widely. Indeed, they'd be good people to do it!

Or they could avoid needing to do a chunk of that by just getting their mobile app into service, or if it has a fundamental flaw just translate and use the German one which is open source. I so wish Apple and Google had just done it themselves, independent of Governments!
 

Roast Veg

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If we can lock people in their homes, we can (and should) temporarily repeal GDPR as applies to contact tracing, and to heck with the EU if it objects as we are leaving anyway. The secret services are up to it anyway, we'd just be doing it more widely. Indeed, they'd be good people to do it!

Or they could avoid needing to do a chunk of that by just getting their effing mobile app into service, or if it has a fundamental flaw just translate and use the German one which is open source. I so wish Apple and Google had just done it themselves, independent of Governments!
Hard disagree with the precedent that sets. The GDPR is fundamentally good for individuals (and bad for big companies and invasive governments). The clauses that the government are using already to hold vast quantities of data are egregious, and that's within the law!
 

Skymonster

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we can (and should) temporarily repeal GDPR as applies to contact tracing
I think you’d find North Korea a great place to live. Thankfully some of us still believe hard-won individual freedoms are more important than undemocratically implemented and socially invasive surveillance and restrictions.
 

Bletchleyite

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I think you’d find North Korea a great place to live. Thankfully some of us still believe hard-won individual freedoms are more important than undemocratically implemented and socially invasive surveillance and restrictions.
I'd rather lose some specific relevant freedoms temporarily than see many deaths and a prolongation of restrictions.

And I am generally a libertarian (ish), but I am realistic and do not seek to deny the truth of just how bad this situation is.
 

kieron

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I think I saw something about this being talked about today. How would they shut down local areas and keep the surrounding areas open, unless it's a system based on trust? You'd need to shut down the roads, rail and footpaths but this is clearly not possible because of essential workers and essential journeys. So far as I can see it's not enforcable other than the police setting up checkpoints or stopping at random - but there's not enough of them to do this.
You would use the measures we are currently using to prevent people from travelling, a mixture of education and enforcement. If you used a system like Spain, people would not be permitted to travel from one area to another (whatever that would mean here) until every area reached the final stage of the de-escalation process. I presume Spain has rules for people who need to travel for work or family reasons, but I don't know what those are.

As for enforcement, it only takes one police officer with a motor vehicle to stop people at random. More police just means you stop more people.
On the flip side, it's hard though because as we've seen in New Zealand, there are always flaws in the plan and you just need one person to get through and there's a risk that it could start spreading again.
That's always the way. You will get a few people entering the country, but you have a scheme to detect infected people and trace the people they have had contact with. If you start with everyone on the same flight, this will be a big number.

The risk is that one of the "imported" cases may lead to people spreading it in the community again, and restrictions being reimposed on more people. That may be what has happened in Beijing now. I'm not going to assume too much about a country whose soldiers fought hand-to-hand with foreigners the other night, though.
 

317 forever

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Priti Patel has claimed that a new lockdown of some kind could be reinstated briefly at Leicester following a surge of cases there


There have been rumours that Leicester might be pushed back into tighter restrictions to stop the spread of the virus.

Ms Patel appeared on The Andrew Marr show this morning and was asked directly about the suggestions the city could be put back into lockdown.

She did not give any further indication of what might trigger a local lockdown, when it might begin nor how it might be implemented and enforced.

Leicester’s mayor Sir Peter Soulsby has however said there is "no point speculating" about the going into a localised lockdown.
 
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Bletchleyite

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Complete waste of time trying to get anyone to lockdown anymore, even locally, the dam is broken.
It's only the Press quoting it as "lockdown", and I agree, it'd just be ignored. More likely would be closures of businesses and schools which would effectively give people nothing to do but stay at home. It's much easier to close businesses and facilities (e.g. parks, pubs doing takeaway that people are gathering on the streets to drink) than to try to control what people actually do.
 

Scrotnig

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Predictably the Leicester situation has brought back the "total lockdown now, army on the streets, shoot on sight" hordes on social media and also newspaper comment sections.

Just what is it with these hysterical people?
 

sheff1

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Otherwise, we have regained most of our usual freedoms now.
I find this statement astonishing. Not only are there many many freedoms we still cannot enjoy, as some restrictions are lifted more are being introduced...
.... but all that is being discussed on other threads and is not really relevant to the issue of localised lockdowns.
 

yorkie

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Yes it's just going to be a closure of certain businesses, pubs, hotels, schools etc.
.... but all that is being discussed on other threads and is not really relevant to the issue of localised lockdowns.
Agreed. If anyone has anything to discuss on any subject other than the specific one regarding a more localised approach, please use an alternative thread, thanks :)
 

BJames

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I believe this is now intended to be just an extension of the current restrictions in Leicester for two weeks, while pubs/restaurants in the rest of the country re-open.

I wonder if this will increase the likelihood that people will decide to travel to Loughborough or even Nottingham or Derby, where things are reopening and cases are lower?
 

Mag_seven

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Although the "idea" of a local lockdown is not new (it was being discussed some time ago as something that would be needed as we come out of the pandemic) I don't really think the government have thought it out properly. The answers to questions such as what exactly is it, when is it implemented and who implements it etc don't appear to have been written down anywhere. Look at the confusion surrounding what needs to happen in Leicester where the Mayor there has criticised the government's advice apparently coming via an email!

But Sir Peter said he had received an email from the government overnight and "it seems they're suggesting we continue the present level of restriction for a further two weeks beyond 4 July".

He criticised the analysis as "superficial" and said "it does not provide us with the information we need if we are to remain restricted for two weeks longer than the rest of the country".

 

MikeWM

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I believe this is now intended to be just an extension of the current restrictions in Leicester for two weeks, while pubs/restaurants in the rest of the country re-open.

I wonder if this will increase the likelihood that people will decide to travel to Loughborough or even Nottingham or Derby, where things are reopening and cases are lower?
It's the only plan the Government could come up with to get people back on the trains :)

I'm not sure how this will be implemented in law, however. The current regulations must be going to be largely amended sometime this week to allow for all the changes this weekend. It will complicate matters immensely to keep the current ones in place but just for one place - and the regulations are already becoming very messy.
 

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