Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
27 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Why a coronavirus “exit strategy“ is an impossible goal

By Samuel Horti

The UK government has said repeatedly that it will only follow other European countries in easing lockdown measures when five tests are met, one of which guarantees that no restriction will be lifted if doing so risks a second peak of infections. This test, writes Lawrence Freedman, emeritus professor of war studies at King’s College London, on the New Statesman today, is surrounded by uncertainties, and any claims to answer it are “hostage to fortune”.  

Indeed, the very term “exit strategy” is problematic, he argues. As Freedman writes, the term has its roots in military interventions in the 1990s and, just as it was then, our “only honest course is to acknowledge the uncertainties and so prepare for a long haul without quick results”.

“Of course, there are important differences, not least in that an exit strategy in this case does not provide the enemy with vital clues about what to expect. The big difference is that while it is possible to exit from a foreign country, we must live in our own and cope with a threat that can’t be banished.”

Read the full piece here.

Select and enter your email address Your new guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture each weekend - from the New Statesman. A quick and essential guide to domestic politics from the New Statesman's Westminster team. A weekly newsletter helping you understand the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email. Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
How placemaking can drive productivity in cities – with PwC
The UK needs SMEs to reach net zero
To truly tackle regional disparities, we need a new type of devolution