Boris Johnson addresses the nation last night (Image: Andrew Parsons / No.10 Downing Street)
“We are now traveling a one-way road to freedom. And we can safely begin to restart our lives and do so with confidence, ”he said. With an optimistic joke, he added, “The crocus of hope peeks through the frost.”
According to his plan, the gradual completion of the closure in England will begin on March 8 with the reopening of all schools and people will be able to socialize with another person outside their home.
It will be followed by a gradual opening of the economy over the next four months to most of the restrictions to be removed just before mid-summer.
At least five weeks will separate each stage to ensure four key tests covering the speed and effectiveness of the vaccination program, the pressure on the NHS and the emergence of new mutant strains of coronavirus.
The prime minister said his government will do “whatever it takes to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK” with more financial aid on top of the already committed £ 280bn expected in Rishi’s budget. Sunak next week.
“It is thanks to vaccines that there is light ahead that leads us to a spring and a summer that I believe will be seasons of hope, of showing off and feeling incomparably better for all and from which we will not return,” said the Prime Minister. at a Downing Street press conference last night.
Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street before a statement to Parliament (Image: Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street)
But he warned that easing restrictions will lead to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths from Covid.
“No vaccine against any disease has been 100% effective,” said the Prime Minister.
“So every time we ease the lockdown, whether it’s today or in six or nine months, we have to be realistic and accept that there will be more infections, more hospitalizations, and therefore sadly more deaths, just like every day. . year with flu «.
Government scientific advisers are forecasting a third wave of the virus that could kill more than 100,000 more people, a document published last night by Whitehall showed.
Johnson insisted that the key dates on his roadmap were the first possible moments to lift the restrictions and could be delayed if four new tests covering vaccination and infection rates are not met.
He said he “would rather change something in a hurry for certain” when setting his calendar.
What is the R rate in my area? (Image: Daily Express)
In announcing his long-awaited roadmap out of lockdown for the MP in Westminster, the Prime Minister said: incomparably better than the image we see around us today.
He committed his government to a new “extensive goal” of offering a first dose of vaccine to all adults in the country by the end of July.
The four-step plan for England sets the earliest dates for rule changes to take place.
But Johnson warned that any major change, such as a risky new strain of the virus or an increase in cases, would slow progress.
Analysis of current Covid data means that step one, which is divided into two phases, can continue.
By the time the first few rules have been relaxed, all people over 70 or clinically extremely vulnerable will have received protection with the first dose of the vaccine.
The first step in lifting the blockade will come on March 8 with the reopening of all schools and a limited relaxation of the ban on socializing.
Two people will be allowed to meet outdoors for a chat, coffee or picnic, but domestic mixing will not be allowed indoors.
Each resident of the nursing home may nominate only one designated visitor who can make regular visits.
Up to 30 mourners will be able to attend a funeral, but only six can attend weddings and wakes.
During the first phase, the government’s message to the public will continue to be: “stay home”.
Starting on March 29 and coinciding with the Easter holidays, the outdoor socialization rules will be relaxed to allow two households to mingle or a group of up to six people to come together.
Outdoor sports, such as tennis and basketball courts, will reopen and outdoor grassroots sports may resume.
But vacations will remain illegal and travel must be kept to a minimum.
The legal order of stay in the home will end, but employees must continue to work from their properties if they can.
The second step of the roadmap will go into effect on April 12 with the call to “stay home” which will be replaced by a new call to “stay local.”
All stores will reopen and more outdoor socializing will be allowed.
Restaurants will be able to serve customers outdoors and outdoor bars may reopen, but groups must still have up to six people or be made up of two households.
Johnson said he is ending the “Scotch egg debate” by eliminating the rule that drinkers must have a substantial meal.
The 10 p.m. curfew has also been lifted after complaints that it didn’t work and hurt the industry.
But drinkers and diners should be served at your table.
The prime minister, whose blonde mop is getting wilder and wilder, said he was “happy to say” hair salons will reopen.
Libraries and museums may reopen, but the focus is primarily on reopening outdoor attractions, such as zoos and theme parks, because evidence shows that the risk of transmission outdoors is low.
Indoor gyms and pools will be restarted, but only for individual or home exercise.
Campsites and vacation rentals can be reopened for individual households.
The third step, which will take effect on May 17 at the earliest, will allow for indoor mixing.
Families and friends can finally get together indoors
Outdoor restrictions on mixing groups will end and instead a limit of 30 people will be introduced in meetings.
Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers indoors, cinemas, hotels and children’s play centers will be able to reopen.
Small indoor performances and larger outdoor events such as sports and music concerts will be allowed with restricted capacity.
International travel may be possible.
Johnson has set himself the ultimate goal of ending all Covid restrictions, step four of his plan, effective June 21.
All limits to social contact will be removed in the final phase of the PM’s “road to freedom” schedule.