The U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made known his plan to lift the lockdown restrictions in England by June 2021.
Johnson said the lockdown easing will come in a number of steps and will be data-dependent at every stage. He said,
“The lockdown easing will come in a number of steps and will be data-dependent at every stage. The first step will see schools in England reopen on March 8, while recreation in outdoor public places like parks — such as going for a picnic or coffee — will also be allowed between two people.
“Our priority has always been getting children back into school which we know is crucial for their education as well as their mental and physical wellbeing, and we will also be prioritizing ways for people to reunite with loved ones safely.
“By March 29, people will no longer be legally required to stay at home but will be advised to continue to work from home where they can and minimize travel. Outdoor gatherings of two households or six people will also be allowed.
“The second step will entail further lifting of restrictions, with non-essential shops, hairdressers and other places set to reopen from April 12.
“By June 21, the government hopes to abolish all legal limits on mixing and to reopen the last sectors to remain closed, such as nightclubs.
Boris Johnson has said several times that the relaxation of measures will be cautious and driven by data, not dates. However, he stated that the lifting of restrictions shall be irreversible as he comes under intense pressure from members of his Conservative Party to re-open the economy.
“Our decisions will be made on the latest data at every step, and we will be cautious about this approach so that we do not undo the progress we have achieved so far and the sacrifices each and every one of you has made to keep yourself and others safe,” Boris Johnson said.
He maintained that the easing must be done in stages to avoid any leaps in infection rates.
“If there was a fourth lockdown, because the prime minister gets it wrong again, then that would be a disaster for our schools and businesses,” Ed Davey, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats party said. “So the Liberal Democrats are saying that of course we welcome a reopening, but let’s do it in a way that prevents and avoids a fourth lockdown.”
What you should know
- The British Prime Minister recently announced that England is to enter its third lockdown of the covid-19 pandemic.
- The U.K. has been one of the worst-hit countries by the pandemic, as the fourth-highest number of infections after the U.S., India and Brazil.
- To date, it has counted over 4.1 million coronavirus cases and has seen 120,810 fatalities as a result of the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
- This week alone, the UK recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed Covid cases for the seventh day in a row.
- It is important to note that the UK was the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, and to roll out the shot in early December to its most elderly members of the population, care home workers and healthcare and hospital staff.
- The UK government has set four key tests which must be met before Britain can move through each step of the plan: That the vaccine deployment program continues successfully, evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalizations and deaths in those vaccinated, infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalizations which would put unsustainable pressure on the National Health Service.