A containment exit “prudent” most “irreversible”, according to the British Prime Minister. Boris Johnson hopes for a return to near normal by the end of June in England, he said on Monday February 22, presenting a gradual deconfinement strategy which should be spread throughout the spring.
Country in Europe hardest hit by Covid-19 with more than 120,000 dead, the United Kingdom confined itself for the third time at the beginning of the year in the face of an explosion of the epidemic due to a more variant contagious disease emerged in southern England, which brought hospitals to the brink of submersion.
According to a schedule decided in each of the nations (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland), the country is now preparing to loosen the screw a little, the restrictions and the massive vaccination campaign having led to a decline in contamination, hospitalizations and deaths. “We cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that weaken our economy, our mental and physical well-being”, Boris Johnson explained to MPs, presenting a four-step plan for England. “This is why it is essential that this roadmap be prudent but also irreversible.”
In England, the most populous nation with 56 million people, schools will be the first to benefit from the relaxation of restrictions, with a reopening scheduled for March 8. From March 29, the order to stay at home will be lifted and outdoor gatherings, limited to six people or two different households, will be authorized.
Non-essential stores, hairdressers, pubs – but only outdoors – and museums will have to wait until April 12. Cinemas, hotels, stadiums (with a maximum of 10,000 people), hotels and restaurants (indoors) will follow on May 17, the date on which members of different households can meet indoors. If the health situation allows it, the restrictions limiting social contact will be lifted on June 21 at the earliest, as will the teleworking instruction.
Boris Johnson said any decision would be made based on the scientific evidence at his disposal, such as the effectiveness of anti-Covid vaccines and the decline in hospitalizations.
The government based its crisis exit strategy on the vaccination campaign, launched in early December, which is in full swing. One in three adults has already received a first dose, or more than 17.5 million people, and by mid-April, those over 50 should all have been partially vaccinated. The government has promised that all adults will be offered a first injection of the anti-Covid vaccine by the end of July.
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