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Tony Blair urges Boris Johnson not to ditch the level system on route map outside of lockdown

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A tougher tier system tied to Covid alert levels, virus modeling and economics must be at the heart of the government’s new plan, a report released today by the Tony Blair Institute [TBI] argued today.

The intervention by the former Minister of LaborPrime comes just days before Mr Johnson outlines his plan to phase out coronavirus restrictions on Monday.

Mr Johnson said he wanted this lockdown to be the last and progress should be cautious but irreversible.

TBI has unveiled five steps they believe Mr Johnson should include in his exit from the lockout to avoid the same mistakes as the last exit strategy.

This includes the covid restrictions still in effect at the level of national, regional and local authorities.

The government should not abandon its local approach to restrictions. A rigid national approach will impose unnecessary economic and social costs to contain the virus or fail to contain it, the institute said.

He also argues that easing and tightening steps should be data-driven, and levels should be linked to alert levels judged by the Joint Biosafety Center.

Report author Ian Mulheirn, policy director and chief economist at TBI UK, said: What the public and business want is a clear and coherent plan, and a government ready to move from there ‘one or the other.

Ironically, the best chance that this lockdown will be the last is that the government is prepared to quickly reimpose measures if the virus appears to risk losing control.

TBI estimated that under the current rollout of the NHS vaccine, all adults could have been offered a first dose by the end of May.

However, this suggests that lifting all restrictions in the event of a pandemic could be contingent on containment infrastructure such as digital health passes and widespread rapid testing.

The TBI report claims that the government made three critical mistakes in its previous approaches. These do not include any link between the covid alert level and decision making at regional levels and an underestimation of the economic impacts of inadequate suppression.

According to TBI, other steps should guide the roadmap to ensure this is the last lockdown, including setting a clear policy goal and scientifically modeling the likely trajectory of the virus according to the plans of the government.

The report also argues that easing and tightening restrictions should hinge on data and modeling the economic implications alongside the virus.

A government spokesperson said: As the Prime Minister has said, we want this lockdown to be the last, which is why we will seek to ease the restrictions in a cautious but irreversible manner.

We will release our roadmap on Monday, after carefully considering the impact of current restrictions and the vaccination schedule on infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

No decision has yet been made.

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