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Coronavirus: Transport staff could be among first sent back to work when lockdown is lifted

Transport staff would be one of the first sent back to work if ministers decide to lift lockdown restrictions on a sector by sector basis.

It would be part of a drive to “get the economy moving again” that could also see schools re-opened.

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The government is due to review the coronavirus lockdown restrictions later this week.

There is no expectation they will be lifted for weeks, however.

Ministers are split on whether measures should be relaxed around the time of the next review, due at the start of next month, or at the end of May.

There is thought to be little appetite to lift the lockdown on a region by region basis, despite calls from little affected areas such as the Isle of Wight.

Instead it was more likely the restrictions would be lifted on a sector by sector basis, sources said

It is understood that under that scenario  train company and other transport staff would be among the first included, because they would be vital to allow others to get back to work.

Similarly, workers in many industries would struggle to return to the office if they had to stay home and look after children because the schools were still closed.

Separately sources downplayed the idea the cabinet  had divided into hawks and doves, keen to lift the lockdown sooner or later.

It is understood more evidence on the effects of the lockdown is due to cross ministers desk later this week.

The review itself is not due until Thursday, more than three weeks after the strict measures were first announced.

Any easing of the lockdown will look at what has already happened in other countries affected by the pandemic earlier than the UK – including China, Austria and Italy

“To an extent our trial and error will be in other countries – China, Italy, Austria. We will be looking at international examples,” one government insider said.

“We will be keeping an eye on these. Scientists have been worried about a second wave of cases around a month after restrictions are lifted.”

It is not believed there will be a off-the-shelf method the UK can follow.

Different demographics and public health systems in other countries mean copying their measures in Britain could prove impossible or potentially backfire.

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, is leading the cross-government review of the lockdown, which was announced by Boris Johnson.


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