UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today shared his finalised roadmap to lift England’s current coronavirus lockdown. The prime minister’s ‘cautious’ four-part plan includes changes such as the reopening of all schools in England and increased numbers of people and households allowed to meet outdoors.
Johnson gave a press conference detailing the new four-step plan aimed at easing down the current health safety measures in the country. The plan envisions seeing legal limits on social contact lifted by June 21st.
The Prime Minister affirmed that the plan is meant to be “cautious but irreversible”. According to the BBC, he warned there was “no credible route to a zero-Covid Britain nor a zero-Covid world”.
The plan foresees four different tests to guarantee the reliability of the plan. These tests will cover vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants at each stage.
Data on the UK’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout suggest positive results. The vaccination campaign so far seems to have had a significant impact on stopping contagion and severe symptoms.
1. First stage of easing the lockdown
The first stage of the easing of lockdown will be split into the following two parts:
From 8th March:
- All schools will open
- Outdoor after-school sports and activities allowed
- Recreation in a public space, such as a park, will be allowed between two people, meaning they would be allowed to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic
- Each care home resident in England will be allowed to have one regular visitor, with whom they can hold hands
From 29th March:
- Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed, this will include gatherings in private gardens
- Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen
- Organised adult and children’s sport, such as grassroots football, will be allowed
2. Second stage of easing the lockdown
From 12th April
Major parts of the economy allowed to reopen:
- Non-essential retail opens, hairdressers and some public buildings like libraries
- Outdoor settings like alcohol takeaways, beer gardens, zoos and theme parks
- Indoor leisure like swimming pools and gyms
- Self-contained holiday accommodation, such as self-catering lets and camp sites
- Social contact rules will continue to apply in all settings. Mixing between different households is not allowed.
- Changes to international non-essential travel would be announced by 12 April at the earliest.
- The Prime Minister confirmed the end of hospitality curfews, as well as the requirement to eat a meal in case an alcoholic beverage was purchased.
3. Third stage of easing the lockdown
From 17th May
- Indoor hospitality and hotels may open
- Most of outdoor social contact rules lifted
- Six people or two households can meet indoors
4. Fourth stage of easing the lockdown
From June 21st
- Remaining sectors of the economy may reopen
- All limits on social contact removed
NOTE: All dates are to be considered as the earliest possible ones.
5. Elsewhere in the UK
The Prime Minister’s announcement comes as children aged three to seven, as well as some students on practical college courses, return to the classroom in Wales, whilst Scotland’s youngest pupils also return to face-to-face teaching in the first step of the phased reopening of schools there.
Schools look set to reopen to all pupils in England on 8 March.— The Speaker (@speakerpolitics) February 22, 2021
School pupils in some year groups have started to return to the classroom today in Scotland and Wales.
More: https://t.co/ux5y2ImRSd#schoolsreopeninguk pic.twitter.com/pNzjNqlgoA
6. The vaccination roll-out
The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination has had a significant impact on the risk of serious illness from Covid-19, analysis by Public Health Scotland shows. Figures for England, including new data on the impact of vaccines on transmission rates, are expected later.
7. Four conditions must be met at each stage
The roadmap outlines four steps for easing restrictions, however before proceeding to each next step, the government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous changes.
The four conditions that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are:
- The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
- New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions
The Prime Minister stated that data will be used to inform ‘every step’ of lifting restrictions.
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’ he added.Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister
Downing Street said the four conditions are currently being met so the first stage of lockdown easing in England will proceed as planned on 8th March. These will be across the whole of England, Downing Street added, due to the current uniform spread of the virus. MPs will be given the chance to vote on the regulations enabling England’s roadmap in the coming weeks.