No.10 deny changing 5 tests to exit lockdown as official slides change overnight


DOWNING Street tonight was forced to deny it had shifted its five tests for tweaking the coronavirus lockdown – after the press conference slides changed overnight.

No10 claimed that there were “no changes” to the aims that Britain has to meet before it can start to think about easing off on any measures.

The slides yesterday claimed that before any lockdown measures are changed, the Government should be confident that there will be no risk of a second peak of infections
But today it said that a second peak must not overwhelm the NHS

But slides put out at the same time as the No10 press conference today showed different wording to the day before.

It previously claimed that the Government must be confident that adjusting any measures would not see a “second peak of infections”.

Today’s slides were changed to say “a second peak of infections that overwhelms the NHS”.

Some critics had said of the five tests that a second peak was bound to happen as a result of any lifting of lockdown measures, and thus the test would never be met.

And points one and three were also subtly changed too.

However, No10 were swift to claim that Dominic Raab had already specified that any peak should not overwhelm the NHS in a previous statement.

A spokesperson said this evening: “No change to the tests.

“The slide has just been updated to more specifically reflect what Dominic Raab said on 16 April: ‘Fifth, and this is really crucial, we need to be confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelm the NHS.’”

Dominic Raab had said before the second peak must not overwhelm the NHS

However, Boris Johnson did not mention this condition during his Downing Street statement yesterday morning.

He would only say that the tests included “avoiding a second peak”.

Ministers have been keen to stress that at no point has the NHS been overwhelmed during the current pandemic.

And No10 has stressed today that no changes to the current lockdown rules are expected before next week’s review.

Government sources have said that in the coming days they could set out more details on how the fight against Covid-19 is going and explain more about preventing a second peak.

But a plan for changing any measures is off the cards for now.

Officially ministers have to review the regulations every three weeks – and the next review point is on May 7.

However, earlier new guidance was issued to rubbish tips and recycling centres that they can reopen if they keep to social distancing measures.

They were never ordered explicitly to shut, but many chose to anyway.

Boris said in his No10 speech that the UK must avoid a second peak – he didn’t mention specifically the NHS

And garden centres and other non-essential shops were told the same – though that guidance has not changed since the start.

Many of them faced huge pressure to shut down to avoid workers having to go in.

But as calls grow to start reopening parts of the economy to avoid a complete meltdown, some branches have started to reopen again.