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The Guardian view on lockdown choices: who to trust? | Editorial

The relaxation of the rules confronts people across England with impossible decisions

Across Europe, the start of June marks a new phase in the coronavirus response. In the coming days, new measures will take effect in Italy, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Spain and Estonia, as well as the UK. Several countries are preparing to reopen restaurants, cafes and theatres, as well as schools. It is a measure of how poorly the UK government has managed the pandemic that even the more limited easing of the lockdown that is due to take place in England inspires more fear than relief.

As it is, the week ahead will confront parents of school-age children, 2.2 million people who have until now been “shielding” at home, and millions more adults who have been told they can return to work, with an impossible choice. Should they do what the government says, and begin to let down their guard against the risk of catching the virus? Or should they heed the warnings of the five members of Sage (the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) who believe the lifting of lockdown is premature, and the deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, who on Saturday described the present moment as “very dangerous”?

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