Prime Minister Boris Johnson will reopen the country gradually, although he acknowledges that it could lead to more coronary heart disease.
Already in two weeks – March 8 – the gradual reopening begins after the country’s third closure, and those who will first be able to enjoy some more freedom are schoolchildren and the elderly.
The plan is that all measures to maintain social distance can be lifted in England from 21 June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said when he announced the reopening of Parliament on Monday.
But it will inevitably lead to more infections, more hospitalizations and more deaths as no vaccine can be 100 percent effective, according to Johnson.
“We can not continue with endless restrictions, restrictions that impoverish the economy, our physical and mental health and the livelihoods of our children,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s plan calls for a “gradual and cautious” reopening that will take place in four steps towards the summer. The government is open to dates being changed depending on the contagion situation and scientific advice, but Johnson insists the plan is irrevocable.
– After a miserable year, we will have a spring and a summer that will be very different and without comparison better than the picture we see around us today, Johnson said.
The teachers’ organizations believe that it is a great risk to let all the students return on the same day, but the plan must also have support from the opposition.
– We all want this to be the last shutdown, so we have to do this gradually, so we do not end up where we started in just a few weeks or months, says Labor leader Keir Starmer.
On the same day, nursing home patients will be able to receive visits indoors.
From 12 April, most shops will be able to stay open, and from 17 May, it will be open to some spectators at sporting events.
As there are five weeks between each step, the authorities will have time to assess how the measures work before opening for the next phase.
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The hope is that the vaccination program will prevent the infection rates from increasing significantly.
In his speech to the elected representatives, Johnson said that the vaccination program has already led to a reduction in the pressure on the hospitals. Just a few weeks ago, ambulances were queuing outside the emergency rooms, and some covid patients had to wait for hours before being admitted.
– The end is really in sight, he said.
One third of all adult Britons, or over 17 million, have so far received their first vaccine dose.
In December, the country was the first country in the world to start mass vaccination, but when the infection increased sharply, the authorities were still forced to shut down again. At the beginning of January, the schools were closed again after a short period of relief.
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It is now hoped that everyone over the age of 50 will have received at least one vaccine dose by mid-April, while all adults will have been vaccinated by the end of July. The speed of vaccination is thus higher than what was previously planned.
Britain is among the countries in the world that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, with over 120,000 coronary deaths.
It is almost a year since the British government shut down the country for the first time. People were asked to stay at home, and since then it has been a steep downhill for the economy.
The Prime Minister says the facilities will be introduced simultaneously throughout England, while in the past there have been regional differences in the measures. He also says that further progress in the reopening will, among other things, depend on the development of the various virus variants.
Authorities in Scotland and Wales are letting some of the youngest pupils start school again this week. In Northern Ireland, the youngest pupils are allowed to return on 8 March, while the general closure has been extended to 1 April.
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