The four-point roadmap for the gradual easing of restrictive measures against the coronavirus and the exit from the third national lockdown was presented this afternoon by the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The first step will be done on March 8, so schools are expected to open and two people will now be allowed to meet outside, not just for physical exercise. Also the tenants of accommodation structures for the elderly will be able to receive a visit from a regular and registered visitor.
The official “stay at home” directive ceases, but traffic near the place of residence will be recommended, which is at the discretion of every citizen.
Teleworking will continue to be sought where possible, and travel abroad will not be allowed except for a number of exceptions.
From the March 29, outdoor gatherings of either six people or people from two households will also be allowed.
From March 29, sports activities will resume, including football, tennis and golf.
The second step will be done on April 12 and concerns the reopening of shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor restaurants such as restaurants and pubs but only with tables outside and distances.
Also, from April 12, zoos, theme parks, museums and libraries will reopen.
The third step will start on May 17 by removing most of the restrictions on socializing but also the restrictions on indoor meetings by people who do not come from the same households.
After May 17, the interior of restaurants and pubs, hotels, cinemas and group rooms is also expected to reopen, but again with rules on how many people from different backgrounds can meet.
May 17th is also the date when travel abroad will be allowed again at the earliest, something that will be re-evaluated along the way.
For sports, indoor stadiums can accommodate up to 1,000 people or half capacity, for outdoor stadiums the limit will be 4,000 people or half capacity, while for very large stadiums with numbered seats, such as football stadiums, there will be a limit. 10,000 people or a quarter of the capacity.
Weddings will be allowed with up to 30 guests, as well as other events such as baptisms.
Boris Johnson expressed optimism that the fourth step, starting on June 21, will mean the end of all restrictions on social interactions.
Then the last activities such as nightclubs are expected to open and big events, such as concerts, will be allowed again.
“Vaccines changed the data”
Johnson stressed that any decision will be made on the basis of available scientific data, such as those regarding the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine and the reduction of hospitalizations.
“I strongly believe that the vaccination program has changed the data in our favor,” Johnson said. “Today, the end is really visible; and a miserable year will give way to a spring and a summer very different and incomparably better than the picture we see around us today,” he added.
In the long run, people will have to learn to live with the new coronavirus, as well as the flu, thanks to vaccines, he said, adding that there is currently no problem with the availability of vaccines.
“The only reason I can say (…) that we need to learn to live with Covid like we do with the flu (…) in the long run is of course because we have this vaccination program and the ability to develop our vaccines,” he told parliament.
Johnson was optimistic that the existing vaccines would provide some protection against variants of the new coronavirus, noting that pharmaceutical companies are working to upgrade their products.
The British Prime Minister also promised that his government will not abandon those who need state support during the pandemic.
“I want to assure the parliament, we will not pull the rug from their feet. “As long as the pandemic lasts, the government will continue to do what is necessary to protect the jobs and livelihoods of people across the UK,” he said.
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