British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to present a plan on Monday for the end of the week-long corona lockdown in England. Johnson has announced a “cautious but irrevocable” exit. It is already known that residents of retirement and nursing homes will be able to receive visits from selected relatives or friends again from March 8th. It is expected that the schools will open on the same date.
In addition, meetings between two households outdoors and outdoor activities such as golf or tennis might initially be possible. “Our priority has always been to get children back to school as it is vital to their education and their mental and physical health,” Johnson said, according to a statement. “We will also create ways in which people can safely meet their loved ones.”
For retail and hospitality, it will be even longer before they are allowed to reopen. All further easing steps should depend on the successful further progress of the vaccinations, a manageable infection situation and that dangerous corona variants do not spread any further.
Since health is the responsibility of the regional governments, Johnson can only decide for the largest part of England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland determine their corona measures independently.
The British government also wants to present data on the effectiveness of its vaccination campaign on Monday. Data on the Astrazeneca vaccine are eagerly awaited. “It looks good,” said State Secretary Nadhim Zahawi to the British news channel Sky News. The vaccination program is beginning to bear fruit.
Prime Minister Johnson will provide details this afternoon when he presents his roadmap for the gradual lifting of the lockdown in England in Parliament, Zahawi said.
In England, the third lockdown with extensive exit and contact restrictions has been in effect since January 5th. Great Britain is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in Europe. The government is relying on mass vaccinations. To date, more than 17 million people nationwide have received a first dose – one in three adults.
The infection situation in Great Britain has improved significantly in the past few weeks, but remains at a very high level. 9,834 new cases were reported on Sunday. The curve of new infections has been falling quite continuously since the beginning of January. Most recently, the country counted 124 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days.
The statistician David Spiegelhalter from Cambridge University, who is also on the government’s scientific advisory body, emphasized that it was important to allow sufficient time to pass between loosening steps in order to be able to recognize the effects on the infection situation. “Things can change and we have seen that they can change very quickly, and that is very worrying,” Spiegelhalter told Times Radio.
On Monday, the cabinet should finally decide on the easing before Johnson wanted to present his plan to parliament and the public later in the day.
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