Ministers face claims they are easing lockdown by stealth tonight amid evidence public services and retail outlets are being freed up and hurdles for making changes lowered. Despite Downing Street insisting that curbs remain in place until at least May 7 there are signs that the rules are already being relaxed in the face of growing Tory alarm over the economic impact. New guidance is being issued to councils on refuse and recycling sites, while Michael Gove gave a strong hint that garden centres and other shops where social distancing can be most enforced could follow soon. Some construction sites, DIY stores and fast food chains have also stepped up their operations over recent days. Speculation was fuelled tonight as the wording of the government’s ‘five tests’ for easing restrictions was subtly changed. Slides displayed at the daily No10 briefing held by Matt Hancock showed that it is now saying there must be no second peak ‘that overwhelms the NHS’ – although Downing Street insisted that was always the case. Frantic work has been going on behind the scenes to produce an exit plan, although officials are adamant nothing will be announced formally this week. Ideas being mooted include letting… Read full this story
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