On Monday, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced a new, 3 tier approach to local lock downs in the UK. He also announced that Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton and Halton would all be placed in Tir 3, the highest and most strict level (no mixing of households anywhere, pubs and bars to close, no wedding receptions). A large number of districts have also been placed in Tier 2 (no mixing of households indoors, 'rule of six' applies outside, pubs and restaurants remain open, but no mixing of households inside and a 10pm curfew). The remainder of the country is in Tier 1 and the 'rule of six' applies, along wit a 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants.
Some local authorities have complained that the want more say in how the infection rate is managed in their areas and, in an apparently incoherent approach, some areas with higher infection rates, including the Prime Minister's own constituency, have been left out of restrictions, whilst those with lower rates have been included.
It also emerged on Tuesday, that the government's SAGE advisory group had wanted a two-week long 'circuit-breaker' lockdown of the whole country three weeks ago.
The Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer has also now called for a strict circuit-breaker lockdown to be applied nationwide and the Northern Ireland First Minister, Arlene Foster, announced on Wednesday that such a lockdown will be imposed there on Friday, four four weeks. First Minister of Wales, Mark Drayford, told Sky News on Wednesday that he too is considering a similar move. Meanwhile, No10 is playing down the prospects of a national lockdown across England.
Meanwhile, the government's 'Test and Trace' system continues to come under fire for its failure to trace more than around 60% of contacts. The SAGE groups has written:
"The relatively low levels of engagement with the system... coupled with testing delays and likely poor rates of adherence with self-isolation suggests that this system is having a marginal impact on transmission at the moment," they wrote.
"Unless the system grows at the same rate as the epidemic, and support is given to people to enable them to adhere to self-isolation, it is likely that the impact of Test, Trace and Isolate will further decline in the future."
A nation waits, leadership is undecided, the direction is uncertain and the strategy appears
incoherent. People are increasingly dissatisfied.