As the number of hospital admissions (with Covid-19) decline and the graphs begin to plateau is there a glimmer of hope that lockdown may be lifted to some extent?

We are all aware that, in the words of Nicola Sturgeon, the exit strategy is not a case of ‘flicking a switch’, it is more likely to be a gradual process.

Many people have different views about a possible exit strategy.

An article in the Daily Mail floats the possibility that employers may be asked to change their working hours and working days to reduce the risk of community transmission. This article suggests that business will be asked to stagger their hours of operation over 7 days. I can understand the logic.

You just need to ask yourself are the trains busier before 10.00am or after? Are the pubs busier on a Friday night or a Monday night? Is Sainsburys busier on Saturday at 10.00 am or Tuesday at 10.00 am. Busy equals risk of community transmission.

By staggering when people are working and when they are off you reduce the risk of community transmission as people’s free time is not loaded on to two days and people’s working hours are not crammed in a 9 to 5 timeframe.

To take a simple example a pub may have 100 customers eating meals between Friday night and Sunday evening and 50 people eating meals between Monday and Friday evening. By staggering when people are off that pub could have 30 people eating each day from Monday to Sunday, thereby enabling the pub to open as the risk of transmission is reduced.

A bus service may have 100 passengers making the journey to work between 7.00 am and 9.00 am with the same 100 passengers returning home between 5.00pm and 7.00pm. By staggering employer’s opening times those 100 passengers would be spread between 7.00 am and 1.00pm on the out journey and 3.00pm and 10.00 pm on the home journey. That reduces the risk of transmission as studies have shown that public transport at peak hours is a key vector in transmitting the virus. Peak hours would be spread across a wider period.

Employers may want to think about their hours of operation. Preliminary thinking on this issue may be useful the government’s thinking on easing the lockdown becomes clearer.

On a more positive note on which to enter the weekend the first trials of a possible vaccine began yesterday in Oxford. Although it is early days, they are a reputable lab with a notably successful past.