3 Obvious Flaws With Boris Johnson's 'Living With Covid' Strategy

Not everyone agrees with the prime minister that this is a moment of national "pride".
Boris Johnson unveiled the 'Living With Covid' strategy on Monday
Boris Johnson unveiled the 'Living With Covid' strategy on Monday
WPA Pool via Getty Images

Boris Johnson unveiled the government’s new plan, ‘Living with Covid’, on Monday – but it’s safe to say most people are pretty unconvinced by this new strategy.

It means people who test positive for Covid will not have to self-isolate anymore from this Thursday, while Covid sick pay arrangements – which enabled people to receive sick pay from the first day of their absence – will be revoked from March 24.

Free public access to Covid testing kits will also be withdrawn from April 1.

Instead, the onus will be on individuals and personal responsibility, along with the ongoing vaccine programme.

Although the prime minister has hailed this as a “moment of pride” for the country as the UK tries to return to normal – a month before Covid rules were set to expire anyway – there seem to be more than just a few flaws in this tactic.

Is now really the right time?

According to a member of independent Sage, Professor Christina Pagel, the UK is not ready to lift all of the Covid rules.

She told the BBC: “Removing access to tests, and removing support for people to self-isolate how can we actually exercise that responsibility?”

Without testing themselves, people will not be sure if they have Covid. The last two years have shown that the virus does not have clear, consistent symptoms, nor does it create a symptomatic illness in everyone.

People will not necessarily be able to identify it by themselves without a test.

It will disproportionately affect deprived communities

Professor Pagel pointed out that the UK has one of the lowest sick pay rates in Europe (with just £96.35 per week), and so “we don’t have the infrastructure we need to be responsible” when it comes to Covid.

She said: “It’s going to have such a disproportionate impact on the deprived communities where people won’t be be able to afford to buy tests, won’t be able to afford to self-isolate, they’re more exposed, less vaccinated, and more vulnerable to severe illness and long Covid.”

The difficulty with the PM talking about “personal responsibility”

Johnson is still being investigated by the Metropolitan Police over ‘partygate’, as Downing Street held multiple parties throughout lockdown over the last two years – in breach of Covid rules.

Some people think this could undermine the prime minister’s authority when it comes to appealing for people to be responsible for their own actions to reduce Covid transmission.


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