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Coronavirus: PM’s lockdown changes explained

Boris Johnson staying alert, staying alert, ah-ah-ah-ah, staying alert
Be alert - Britain needs lerts, etc.

The government’s new rules easing the country’s coronavirus lockdown have confused many people but, once the waffle is stripped away, it’s all pretty simple. Here’s a brief, clear summary of this new phase of coping with the pandemic:

Work

People will be able to return to work unless they shouldn’t in which case they won’t but, if you work in an industry, it is safe for you to work if that industry is one that is not allowed to re-open. If you need to use public transport to get to work, don’t, especially if some of the rules above might not apply to you. Work from home where possible, but don’t work from someone else’s home unless you are a burglar.

Home

People will be able to leave their homes as long as they do not go outside. Face coverings must be worn at some times but not at others. This is crucial. Unlimited outdoor exercise may be taken, but this should be limited to one unlimited exercise per day, lasting no longer that one hour or until it is time to go back inside, whichever is the best. If the conditions are right, it is important that you continue to go to the toilet.

Piece of cake

As you can see, it’s all quite straightforward. Most importantly of all, though, remember what Boris Johnson said: “We are beating this virus even as the infection rate continues to climb, but we must be alert. If you see the virus lurking in someone’s back yard or near a pensioner, call the police immediately”.

Coronavirus: five-stage alert system unveiled

Boris Johnson, rice pudding in a suit
Combed his hair, must be serious

Boris Johnson has today announced the government’s five-stage coronavirus alert system, which will indicate to the nation how vague the country’s current pandemic strategy is. The system will be administered by a new ‘joint biosecurity centre’, made up of a civil servant and a dart board.

The government's five-stage coronavirus alert system
The five stages of doom

The alert levels range from green (level one) to red (level five). Each level signifies almost nothing, but will give First Secretary of State Dominic Raab something to point at during the government’s daily coronavirus briefings.

Asked to comment on how effective the system is expected to be, Johnson said: “Not as effective as our new slogan, obviously, but it at least makes it look like we’ve been doing something for the past week.”

Huge blow to coronavirus as UK government unveils new slogan

There was much rejoicing in the streets today as Prime Minister Boris Johnson dealt a huge blow to COVID-19 with the unveiling of his new slogan, “Oh God We’re All Going to Die”.

The UK government's new COVID-19 slogan, 'Oh God, we're all going to die'

“While other countries have been researching treatments and vaccines for the virus,” Johnson said in a pre-recorded message to the nation, “Our government has been hard at work devising a new slogan that we believe will be a significant step in driving the virus back. We’re very proud of our hard work, and we believe this great new slogan will spread like wildfire around the country.”

Other political leaders in the UK were united in condemning the slogan, saying it was “irresponsible” to use yellow and green together.

Johnson said: “We went through a number of iterations of the slogan, including “Don’t Blame Boris”, “It’s Not Boris’s Fault”, “Not Everyone is Going to Die”, “Hey, You Never Know, it Might be Okay” and “Go Out if You Want, We Don’t Care”, but eventually we settled on the realistic and catchy slogan you see before you today.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland would not be adopting the slogan yet, but may do so when the population of the country drops below 15.

Build your own TV crime procedural!

Step 1. The predictable bones

Cold open: a person we have never met before - usually a woman - goes about their daily life. Their daily life, it would seem, is full of expository dialogue that shows us what a good person they are.

Cut to: a friend / relative letting themselves into the person’s house / apartment, calling out for the person and explaining that they missed an appointment or lunch or class. The friend / relative moves from room to room until they alight upon the person’s dead body.

Or:

Cold open: a person or some people are doing something in the woods / park. They spot something out of place and go to look at it. There they discover a dead body.

Cut to: opening title sequence

We open on the main characters at the crime scene, having a conversation about the personal life of one of them. They collect forensic evidence and take pictures, and then the next 53 minutes (including adverts) are spent bringing in and accusing the wrong people of murder (“What about the boyfriend?” “He alibied out.”), receiving results of forensic tests unrealistically fast, and uncovering shocking new evidence just before ad breaks. Eventually they will hit a dead end, until a main character says something unrelated to the case that makes them realise who the murderer is.

The killer is arrested and has his dastardly plan explained to him for our benefit. Then there’s a brief wind-down between the main characters about the earlier personal conversation and we’re out.

Step 2. The tedious meat

Okay, that’s your framework sorted - next, you need your main characters. Should they be just plain old police detectives? FBI? SWAT? ATF? NCIS? A special unit?

Or, if you don’t want the yawn of boring old law enforcement, you could choose from peripheral professions, such as forensic anthropologist (Bones), forensic criminologists (CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, CSI: Antarctica), coroner (Quincy M.E., The Coroner, Rizzoli and Isles, etc), doctor (Diagnosis: Murder), author (Murder She Wrote, Castle), mathematician (Numb3rs), neuro-psychiatrist (Perception), or college professor (Instinct). Or you could just go nuts and have a main character who can talk to the dead (Medium).

(If you do choose a character from a peripheral profession, make sure you invent a way that they can be in the interview room interrogating suspects even though that would never happen.)

And should your main characters be a man? A woman? Two men? Two women? A man and a woman and some ubiquitous sexual tension? Grizzled detective and rookie? Maybe a team. If you’re feeling extra lazy, make sure you include a character with a photographic memory. At the very least you need a tech nerd who can get around tricky plot points with a spot of hacking.

Then there’s personality, such as it is. You could have cops who don’t play by the rules, cops who have a dark past, cops who are the best at what they do (who don’t play by the rules and have a dark past), self-destructive cops (who are the best at what they do etc). Or your cop / special agent / coroner / doctor / mathematician / neuro-psychiatrist could be an alcoholic, or a recovering alcoholic, or a recovering drug addict, or a pill-popping opioid abuser in denial, or divorced with a kid they never see. Naturally, they’ll be paired with someone more strait-laced and by-the-book.

And finally, there’s location. New York, obviously. Even CSI: Miami was set in New York. But the precinct house / headquarters / coroner’s office / lab should be unrealistically glamorous and televisual. Lots of glass, or exposed brick. A warehouse, a high-tech laboratory, a high-tech medical facility etc. Anything but an office.

Step 3. There is no Step 3

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Slap a title on it (Cop Police, Special Unit Cop Force, Federal State County Local, Brain Investigation Team, Autopsy Squad or somesuch), use a computer to generate some dialogue and you can get six seasons out of it before one of your main cast leaves. It’s that easy.

Coronavirus: Russian doctors discover alarming COVID-19 phenomenon

Russian President Vladimir Putin reacts to the news that doctors are falling out of windows
Russian President Vladimir Putin reacts to the news that doctors are falling out of windows

A new side effect of COVID-19 has been discovered by doctors in Russia, who have found that expressing concern about the government’s handling of the pandemic will often be accompanied by a feeling of falling out of a window.

One doctor, who tested positive for coronavirus, was gripped with the urge to criticise the country’s response to the health crisis on social media. He later complained of serious head injuries and broken bones after unexpectedly self-defenestrating with no witnesses.

And in separate incidents two more doctors - both asymptomatic - who raised similar concerns about the management of the outbreak died after experiencing the newly discovered side effect.

“It’s so strange,” one medical professional said, while mysteriously falling out of a window, “But there have been no reports of these symptoms in any other countryyyyyy.”

Seven Fifty Eight

Curzon Street and Wardwick, 2009
Derby, England, 2009

Coronavirus: Boris reveals what he was doing as pandemic hit UK

Boris Johnson gives two thumbs up to the country instead of the usual two middle fingers

“I had these up my arse!”