The UK plans to reopen schools in England in two weeks, on 8 March, according to the British Government’s roadmap for lifting restrictions caused by covid-19 which will be presented this Monday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The plan foresees a phased reopening, with the progressive authorization of certain activities separated by periods of several weeks. The first stage is the reopening of schools and the permission for two people to meet for an outdoor cafe, according to the Guardian who had access to the government plan. Visits with various restrictions to nursing homes are also possible.
From 29 March, when the Easter school holiday period begins, there are more restrictions to be lifted, such as the authorization for outdoor sports, such as tennis, basketball in parks, and the resumption of children’s competitions. Meetings of six people or two households outdoors are also authorized.
The possibility of reopening non-essential commercial establishments is scheduled for April and it is only in May that there may be the first sporting or cultural events, coordinated with mass testing and only on an experimental basis. The end of restrictions on international travel, as well as other aspects of confinement, such as teleworking, are not contemplated by the economic reopening program, according to government sources.
The British Government’s optimism is related to the progress of vaccination – the United Kingdom administered more than 18 million doses of the vaccine against covid-19 – but the plan now revealed will be subject to adjustments in view of the analysis of infection rates, which remain very high, albeit with a downward trend. The plan highlights four criteria that will determine whether there are conditions to lift more restrictions at each stage: the progress of the vaccination, the verification of the decrease in hospitalizations and deaths due to the vaccination, reduction of the infection rate and the absence of a threat from new variants of the virus.
The cautious pace of resumption of activities proposed by 10 Downing Street is criticized by a group of deputies from the Conservative Party itself, which supports the Government, who want a complete reopening of the economy by the end of April. Internal opposition may make it difficult to pass legislative measures next week, says the Guardian.
The date chosen for the reopening of schools coincides, according to those responsible for the immunization campaign, with the completion of the complete vaccination of the four groups most vulnerable to covid-19.
Vaccination Minister Nadhim Zahawi said, in an interview with Sky News, that it would not be possible to present a plan for the reopening of schools if there was no belief on the part of the British authorities that “the program is beginning to bear fruit ”.
On Sunday, Health Minister Matt Hancock said that “initial information” shows a “reduction in transmission [do vírus SARS-CoV-2] among vaccinated people ”.
Johnson’s plan puts an end to differences between regions and applies across England. The governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will draw up their own programs for resuming activities.
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