“There is no plausible path to a Zero Covid Britain or even to a Zero Covid World. “We cannot persevere indefinitely with restrictions that affect our economy, our physical and mental well-being, but also the life chances of our children,” said Boris Johnson. “This strategy should be prudent, but also irreversible.”
Return to normalcy plan in the UK – Step 1
Johnson told lawmakers that the first step would be to start reopening schools across England on March 8. A return to limited outdoor social interactions is also planned.
Step one will have a second phase on March 29, when additional restrictions will be lifted. Thus, groups of six people or people from two distinct households will be allowed to meet in the open.
The lifting of the restrictions will take place with a delay of at least five weeks, the prime minister added. The precaution will give the authorities enough time to collect the necessary data and alert UK residents to possible outbreaks.
Four issues will underlie the exit from the lockdown:
- Covid-19 vaccination campaign;
- how vaccines affect Covid-19-related hospitalizations and deaths;
- maintaining low infection rates;
- the situation of the new variants of SARS-CoV-2.
UK return to normalcy plan – Step 2
Step two, planned around April 12, will allow the resumption of non-essential retail activities. Care salons, gyms, museums, zoos and theme parks are targeted. The rules of social distancing will remain valid for the activities inside, which means that only members of the same household can participate in them.
A crucial step is the reopening of the hospitality sector. However, there will be restrictions in bars and restaurants on the number of customers.
UK return to normalcy – Step 3
Step three, estimated no earlier than May 17, will remove most of the rules of social distancing. Groups of up to 30 people can meet outdoors in a public space or a private garden. Bars and restaurants will be allowed to serve a limited number of customers inside.
Indoor entertainment will also be resumed, up to 1,000 people. Spectators will be allowed to return to outdoor sporting events.
UK return to normalcy – Step 4
Finally, step four, scheduled for June 12, will remove most restrictions and mark the reopening of nightclubs. Private events, such as weddings, will be able to take place without restrictions if things go well.
Around that time, the government will analyze the situation of major outdoor events, such as music festivals.
The government will also consider a number of controversial measures, such as the Covid-19 certificate. International travel will not return to normal until May 17, at the earliest.
More than 17 million people in the UK have so far received a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
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