THE impossibility of being risk free, why our hopes are pinned on a sunny summer and confusion over the easing of lockdown were some of the issues discussed by columnists in the newspapers.

The Daily Mail

Sarah Vine believes leaving the house - in the appropriate circumstances and with social distancing - is a risk worth taking, even with an imperfect lung function thanks to swine flu she suffered a few years ago.

“If I catch this virus it could go badly for me, but leave [the house] I do: to work, to exercise, to shop for myself and others,” she said. “It it is, in my opinion, a risk worth taking. Not just because in some instances I have no choice, or because there are others in more tricky circumstances who rely on me; but because life is one long, controlled risk, and coronavirus is no different.”

She said life itself is a trade-off - death ‘stalks us’ from our first breath but we continue to take risks - be that by climbing trees as children, talking to strangers and smoking - and, most of the time, ‘we get away with it.’

“Part of growing up is learning to balance the potential for gain against the prospect of disaster,” she added. “Coronavirus has changed all that. Faced with this threat, we have responded by trying to eliminate all risk. But it is not, and cannot become, ‘the new normal’. Unless the country is prepared to accept financial, cultural and social ruin, we have to re-acquaint ourselves with risk.”

She admits there is a difference between diving headlong into danger and a managed risk.

“It’s time to start living again. Slowly, cautiously, with every precaution. Because none of us can cheat death. But we can give the old Devil a run for his money.”

The Guardian

Katy Balls, deputy political editor of The Spectator, said the government is praying for sunny weather now more than ever, despite hopes that Covid-19 might be stopped by warm weather proving not to be the case.

“Why? To help keep people onside over what has the potential to be a long, dull, stay-at-home British summer,” she said. “The general sense in government is that the bulk of Britons will not be jetting abroad this summer. With unemployment set to increase even further and many on reduced household incomes, holidays are likely to be a luxury that people cannot afford.”

Therefore, she said, ministers are starting to look at how to keep morale up over the long summer months.

“The great hope is that the weather gods will shine on the UK,” she said. “The evidence suggests that activity outside carries a much lower risk of transmission than inside. All the plans to relax socialising coming down the tracks are based on being outside.”

However, for all the efforts to keep the UK entertained this summer, the biggest risk factor may be not the weather but the economy, she said.

“The furlough scheme is up for review in August and companies will be asked to pay a higher contribution. There is concern among MPs that this could be a crunch point for high unemployment.

“If that comes to pass, no amount of ice-cream by the coast or sitting around campfires will be enough to distract from the bad times ahead.”

The Daily Express

Ann Widdicombe has made no secret of her desire to get things moving again in the UK.

Now, she has some signs of optimism. “The gardener rolled up for the first time since November (he doesn’t come in winter), the cleaners rang to say they were preparing their schedules for a resumption of business in June, the chiropodist said she hoped this would be her last home visit and the decorators booked in,” she said. “The message [from the government] is clear: if you have a relevant health condition, stay at home. If you haven’t, get the economy moving.”

There is still some confusion, she said. “We are told we can go a-viewing other people’s properties and enter their houses but we cannot enter the houses of our families.

“We can travel as far as we like by car but may not visit our second homes, even if that does not involve staying in them overnight.”

What we need, she argued, is ‘ a simple message, advising us all, young and old alike, to use our common sense.’

“Common sense is the message that Boris Johnson originally wanted to get over but the conduct of “covidiots” forced him to be more prescriptive,” she added.

“It is time to revert to plan one. So, Boris, from June 1, I shall apply my own judgment and I hope everybody else does the same.”