The prime minister has revealed England’s route to exiting the coronavirus lockdown in the House of Commons this afternoon.
Talking to MPs in Parliament, he announced the highly anticipated measures after analysing the latest coronavirus figures in the past week – including cases, hospitalisations and deaths. He explained there are four steps to unlocking the country, but there will be five weeks between each stage to assess the impact it is having on infections. The PM added the easing of lockdown will be led by data, not dates’.
A televised press conference to the public outlining how his plan will work will take place at 7pm this evening. March 8 will see the first step of the easing of lockdown, with schools reopening and after-school sports and activities restarting outdoors. From this date people will also be allowed to have socially distanced one-on-one meetups with others outdoors in a public space – in a social aspect, not just for exercise – and outdoor sports are expected to resume. From March 29 more social contact is expected to be permitted, with outdoor gatherings allowed either under the reinstated ‘rule of six’, or between two households. The ‘stay at home’ rule will be scrapped. Restaurants and pubs will be able to serve customers outdoors from mid-April and other restrictions, such as mixing indoors and drinking inside pubs, will start to ease in May and June.
It is hoped the country will reach near-normality by July when every adult is predicted to have been offered their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
England must meet four key tests But Mr Johnson warned these dates are conditional on case rates, deaths and hospitalisations falling, and the success of the vaccine rollout. The PM explained he, alongside scientists, will examine four key tests as each stage of measures are lifted. These are 1. The success of the mass vaccination programme
2. The reduction of hospital admissions and deaths
3. The dropping off of infection rates
4. That there are no new Covid variants in the country are causing concern
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