After a year of lockdown restrictions imposing on our civil liberties, the end appears in sight for the UK. With the success of the vaccine rollout, let us be bolder in our Lockdown exit strategy, argues Alex Body.

One year on from the UK's original three-week lockdown, much has changed. In Spring 2020 amidst the chilling stillness of the once bustling streets, our minds turned to the overwhelmed and under-protected healthcare workers whom we applauded each Thursday evening. The rate of daily deaths grew steadily as, without significant population immunity ? and no vaccine ? infections ran rampant.

How times have changed. In December last year, the Prime Minister painted a hopeful picture. Of course, everything would depend on a highly efficient and logistically sound immunisation program, but as Boris himself put it:

"We're no longer resting on the mere hope that we can return to normal next year in the spring, but rather the sure and certain knowledge that we will succeed and together reclaim our lives and all the things about our lives that we love."

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It's a rare statement made by a politician that contains no ambiguity, but to name the Spring as the season and claim certainty this was succour to even the most pessimistic amongst us. Even this Government couldn't be so electorally suicidal as to row back on this promise. If the NHS could organise it and get enough people immunised, anything was possible.

And so here we are in March 2021 with over half of the UK adult population having received at least a single dose of Coronavirus vaccination. Deaths are now average for the time of year, and any honest interrogation of data shows the impressive effectiveness of Britain's immunisation program. The crisis is over. The emergency is over. And yet, only this week the Government saw fit to extend for another six months the Coronavirus Act, permitting the ruling party of our country to arbitrarily allow or disallow freedoms as basic as meeting a friend or relative, opening a business or going to work – even leaving one's own property.

At this very moment, thousands of fully vaccinate d elderly people sit alone, with visits from their families denied. Children forced to interact with their classmates through cloth masks, smiles hidden. The depressed, anxious and suicidal forbidden from sharing their own homes with their friends and family.

Where is the sure and certain knowledge that Mr Johnson spoke of? Has he lost faith in the vaccinations he once championed? The data is clear, so is something more sinister going on? An outbreak of 'anti-vax' sentiment in the cabinet perhaps? Judging the Government by their actions, one could assume the Government has no confidence in the vaccines at all.

We were promised a roadmap that followed "data, not dates" and yet find the Government's rhetoric to be utterly remote from the truth. Again, we find our leaders abjectly unaware of the destruction and misery wrought each day by these utterly unnecessary restrictions.

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