Mr Sunak has argued that unless a clear path is mapped out now for a hasty return to normal activity, then the country could face devastating economic damage. Critics of Health Secretary Matt Hancock - who wants to keep the lockdown going for longer - argue he’s underplaying the long-term economic destruction caused by the lockdown.
The precise decision on the extension of the coronavirus lockdown rules cannot be made until Good Friday as this is the earliest point the lockdown’s effects will register on the infection figures (which are falling rapidly).
Conservative journalists Peter Hitchens and Toby Young warned about the ‘hidden death toll’ of the lockdown which includes the rise of ‘excess morbidity’ - due to mental illness, unemployment or missing hospital appointments for critical conditions such as cancer.
Toby Young wrote: “It is an incredibly delicate issue. No one wants to be seen to be doing a crude calculus of pounds-for-lives, or debating whether a 90-year-old’s life is ‘worth’ saving.
“And for the most part everyone is being very grown up about it. But we cannot come out of this having destroyed the economy for the best part of a generation.
“Hancock is desperate not to have an overloaded NHS, with patients gasping on ventilators in an army field hospital, on his CV.”
He continued: “But the damage to society of a severe lockdown could have even more far-reaching consequences.”