Sunak to extend furlough scheme until September

Reports say that sport and outdoor socialising could return as soon as March or April.

Report suggests sport and outdoor socialising could return ‘within weeks’ of schools reopening: These activities are reported as being the first to be allowed after schools reopen on the 8th March. However one expert said that such a step happening so soon is ‘slightly concerning’. It has been reported that the Prime Minister’s plan to come out of lockdown will prioritise outdoor socialising.

His timetable will also include when the hospitality sector can reopen it’s doors. According to The Times certain sports could also be allowed as early as next month. It is alleged Chancellor Rishi Sunak has voiced concern over scientific advisors ‘moving the golaposts’ to ease restrictions. The Government have said any plans to ease lockdown are ‘tentative’ with the only firm date being set for schools to reopen.

Dr Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick said suggestions of outdoor socialising and a return to sport next month were “slightly concerning”. He went on to say “I would really encourage the government to be approaching this with an element of caution.

I think it is really good news that things are starting to fall, cases have been coming down for a few weeks and we’re now starting to get early signs that hospitalisations are coming down and deaths are coming down.

The real concern here and where we really need to be careful is that it all comes down to R number. As soon as we start to relax, things go up. The key thing for me is we need to get our children back to school first – that’s clearly the most important thing. But I would really encourage it needs to be gradual stepping out of lockdown so that we don’t get a resurgence as we move into the spring.” He added “I really appreciate the need for people getting back some level of normalcy.

My concern is a resurgence by doing that, which will lead to a much greater problem as we get into the spring.” Professor Graham Medley, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and chairman of the Spi-M group, spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, saying “Vaccination offers a way out and it does reduce the impact of infection, but it doesn’t remove it completely. And so case numbers are still important because they represent the risk of having to go back into some kind of national measures.”

Regarding case numbers needing to be lower than 1,000 a day he said “Clearly the lower the numbers of cases are, the more time you have to react if things start to go badly wrong. If the case numbers are very high, if they’re as high as they are at the moment, for example, then you will have very little time in which to react to avoid the kind of national lockdown that we’re in at the moment, which nobody wants.”


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