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The former Labour Prime Minister also urged Mr Johnson to make preparations for a possible second wave of COVID-19 this winter. As millions of Britons slowly ease back into normal life, he said the Government should focus its energies on containment measures to see the country through another spike in infections. Mr Blair said infrastructure to stop the spread of the virus was critical as another national lockdown would not be possible.
He suggested people instead need to learn to live safely with the virus.
He described the crisis as “the biggest challenge logistically and practically” a government has ever faced.
Mr Blair criticised ministers for not yet putting in place an “infrastructure of containment”.
He said: “The reality is that we’re going to be living with COVID-19 – we’re not really going to be able to eliminate it.
“And when you look at what has been happening in other countries, as lockdown has been eased, then more and more problems have appeared and many countries, having gone into lockdown then easing it, are finding spikes in the disease.
“You can’t be sure of this but there’s at least a 50/50 chance that you have a resurgence of the disease in the autumn and that’s why it is absolutely essential now to prepare for that.
“And to put in place every single last bit of containment infrastructure that you possibly can to make sure that if that happens you are able to control the disease, because you’re not going to be able to go back into the lockdown that we endured in March, April and May.”
Mr Johnson has insisted he can avoid imposing a second lockdown in England.
He has described it as a “nuclear deterrent” he wants to avoid at all costs.
A new report by his think tank, the Tony Blair Institute, calls for public confidence to be rebuilt “on the knowledge that every possible step has been taken to mitigate risk”.
It recommends containment measures in the absence of a “game changer” vaccine or treatment for the illness.
The report calls for the rollout of mass testing and compulsory use of face masks in all enclosed public environments.
It also suggests introducing an individual risk categorisation.
The system would see people in at risk groups assigned to the A category and those with low health risks and a low transmission risk put in category D.
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The report also recommends that the Government issue those most at risk with N95 face masks.
Pushing the alphabetical system, Mr Blair said is the Government’s duty to help people protect themselves from being infected.
He said: “The purpose of our suggesting that you categorise people according to their risk is not because that means that if you are a lower risk that you shouldn’t take precautions, because you need to because you can spread the disease.
“But those people who are in what we call the A and B category where you are at significant risk, then it is actually part of the Government’s duty to help people with the measures that they need to protect themselves.”
On Friday, Greater Manchester mayor and Labour’s former health secretary Andy Burnham, said he did not expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be ready in time for winter.
He told the BBC: “I think we are heading here for a winter without a vaccine.
“And I think we have all got to face up to what that means.
“It will probably be the most difficult winter in the National Health Service that it has ever experienced.”
Speaking to nurses at an east London doctor’s surgery on Friday morning, Mr Johnson touched on the topic of vaccines, calling anti-vaxxers “nuts”.
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