LIGHTENING – Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented on Monday February 22 a deconfinement plan in four major stages, the culmination of which could be a return to normal at the end of June.
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Soon the end of the tunnel for the United Kingdom? In any case, this is the hope expressed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. This Monday, February 22, the head of government presented his strategy to end the confinement that he wants “prudent” most “irreversible”, with the objective of a return to almost normal by the end of June in England. Confined for the third time at the start of the year, faced with the explosion of the epidemic due to a more contagious variant that appeared in the south of the country, which led the hospital system to the brink of submersion, England will deconfin , step by step, to avoid a new outbreak.
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“We cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that weaken our economy, our mental and physical well-being”Boris Johnson told MPs, presenting a four-step plan for the UK’s most populous country, with 56 million people. “This is why it is essential that this roadmap be prudent but also irreversible”. In England, where restrictions and vaccination have led to a decline in contaminations, hospitalizations and deaths, schools will be the first to benefit from the relaxation, with a reopening scheduled for March 8.
The last restrictions lifted at the end of June?
From March 29, the stay-at-home order will be lifted and outdoor gatherings, limited to six people or two different households, will be allowed. Non-essential stores, hairdressers, outdoor pubs and museums will have to wait until April 12. Cinemas and hotels and restaurants (indoors) will follow on May 17, when members of different households can meet indoors. In addition, the British government is targeting a return of supporters to stadiums in England on the same date, with a capacity limited to 10,000 people maximum. For indoor sporting events, up to half of the capacity may be used, without exceeding 1,000 people.
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. Prime Minister 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.
Vaccination is in full swing
The British government based its crisis exit strategy on the vaccination campaign, launched at the beginning of 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 executive promised that all adults will be offered a first injection of the anti-Covid vaccine by the end of July. “I fundamentally believe that the immunization program has been a game-changer in our favor”, stressed Boris Johnson during his speech to the deputies.
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Even before these announcements, some economic sectors particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, such as the hotel and catering industry, however regretted that they could not reopen more quickly. “The pub has always been more than just a place to drink. This is where we go to connect, to form a community.”, defended Emma McClarkin, Executive Director of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), arguing for an early reopening.
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In the United Kingdom, each of the country’s four nations decides on its deconfinement strategy. Schools in Scotland and Wales gradually reopened from Monday, starting with small primary grades.
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