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WHATEVER Boosterish Boris announces this evening, he is already racing to catch up.
Spring is sprung and the sun is out. Bubbles are bursting all over.
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Boris Johnson, we’re all bursting to go out – lift lockdown and let us
Children, parents and grandparents are meeting outdoors and, if we are honest, sharing takeaways, hugs and kisses indoors, too.
Nothing the PM says can stop them now.
Boris is a victim of his own success. A single Pfizer dose offers 85-89 per cent protection. In a world of risk from the moment of conception, that’s about as good as it gets.
“Once people have reached four weeks after vaccination, they will get back to normal whatever the Government says,” a senior minister admitted yesterday.
One third of the adult population has now been jabbed and images from parks, riversides and beaches across the country show families are already lifting lockdown for themselves.
Having been through three of them, the PM understandably insists he will be driven this time by data, not dates.
But the data is there for everyone to see.
The pace of vaccination is breathtaking. By July, everyone over 18 will have had a jab.
All the most vulnerable — the over-70s — have been sorted. The death toll is in free-fall, with hospital admissions and infection rates in hot pursuit. “R” is below 1. The NHS can take a well-earned breather.
As millions become immune — with little risk as infection-spreaders — what is the point of locking us up a day longer than necessary?
Experts insist there is scant chance of catching the bug in fresh air, so let’s give the all-clear for outdoor activities, especially sport.
Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious diseases, says: “This virus very rarely transmits outdoors. So activities that don’t involve close physical contact could be adopted now.”
Team games like football, rugby and hockey are on the cards next month, with golf, swimming and tennis also back in play.
Boris even wants Britain to host the entire Euro 2021 football tournament here in June instead of having it spread among 12 different countries. What will Remainers make of that?
But the best news of all is that schools are back on March 8. That’s a week later than many mums and dads — and some teachers — would like, but at least Boris is promising all ages will return at once.
Trouble-making teacher unions should concede this is not a moment too soon. The collateral damage from Covid is colossal.
The cost to children in lost life chances is immeasurable. Many have forgotten learning disciplines which will affect career and earning opportunities, personal relationships and, one day, their own parenting skills.
It will take decades before we can assess the final bill for missed cancer, heart and kidney treatment and the surge in mental illness. Many have already died while waiting for care.
And for all the emotive cries of “lives, not money”, we will all pay dearly for soaring national debt and state borrowing, now at an eye-watering £275billion.
Bank of England predictions the economy will bounce back “like a coiled spring” are welcome, but they won’t stop millions losing their jobs and firms going bust.
Boris Johnson is right to be cautious, but he knows every day under lockdown is a day lost for pubs and restaurants who cannot work from home.
We’ve all learned lessons from Covid. Now we need to know more about Downing Street’s secretive decisions which affect our daily lives and national prosperity.
Tory MPs insist this must be the last lockdown.
Parliament must have the final say before such Draconian powers are invoked again in future emergencies.
Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper told The Sun on Sunday: “Ministers must explain what level of risk from Covid is acceptable.”
It is a question that deserves a carefully considered answer.
We only have to imagine if Covid had struck 15 years sooner — pre-Zoom, pre-Amazon, pre-smartphone, pre-working from home and, most important, pre-tailor-made vaccine.
Would this country then have agreed to follow China into totalitarian lockdown without a word of protest?
Facebook under fire
AUSTRALIA has fired the first shot against Facebook for pillaging expensive newspaper content. Greedy social media giants are also under pressure to pay tax on their vast profits.
But Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield identifies a more corrosive threat – the on-screen horrors channelled into the bedrooms of children, all of them vulnerable to mental and physical self-harm.
“Today’s children will look back and see this as a time where the digital world was a wild and dangerous place,” she says. “They will wonder how adults ever let that happen.”
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