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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.

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