Way back at the beginning of our first lockdown, it was explained to us that the r number indicates the number of people likely to be infected by one person. For instance if it is 1.5, 10 infected people are likely to infect 15 people, and so the incidence of covid infection would rise, whereas if r=0.5 the 10 infected people would probably infect only 5 people and so the number of cases would decrease.
We know that if we are in lockdown, any relaxation in restrictions will inevitably increase the r number. In the summer everything was opened up at once, and mixing was positively encouraged by schemes such as "Eat out to help out". The result was an increase in infections, hospital admissions and deaths, leading to more lockdowns.
Surely a responsible policy would be -firstly not to relax the rules until the r number in all parts of the country is equal to or less than 0.5. Secondly the relaxation of all sectors should be phased, there should not be a simultaneous re-openning of education, hospitality and all other sectors of the economy, because each re-opening will cause an increase in the r number