UK coronavirus

Johnson announces roadmap out of covid lockdown, mulls vaccine passports

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson AP - Leon Neal

UK prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday outlined what he called a "roadmap" for easing Covid restrictions in England.

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Over 18 million anti -Covid vaccine doses have now been given in the UK and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been under increasing pressure to set out plans for a gradual return to more sociable living.

But with over 100,000 deaths with coronavirus recorded in Britain since the outbreak of the pandemic, Boris Johnson is wary of lifting restrictions too quickly.

The UK government is examining the issue of whether or not to issue so-called vaccine passports, to show who has been vaccinated but Johnson stressed on Tuesday that the idea involved “deep and complex” considerations.

Schools to reopen in March

The first step in the roadmap out of lockdown is to be the re opening on 8 March of schools in England, which have been closed since early January. Students studying practical subjects at university will also be able to resume campus learning on that date.

Weddings will be allowed for up to six people.

If Covid figures allow, then by 29 March, outdoor sports facilities including golf courses and tennis courts will re open.

However, shops will not re open until 12 April at the earliest.

If all goes to plan, restaurants and pub gardens will be allowed to serve customers sitting outdoors in mid-April as well, but serving customers indoors will not be allowed until 17 May at the earliest.

It’s hoped that hotels, museums, theatres and cinemas will reopen in mid-May too.

No more restrictions by 21 June

The government hopes that on 21 June it will be able to remove all legal limits on social contact.

The easing of lockdown has been divided into 4 stages, each at least 5 weeks apart.

Four conditions must be met at each stage before entering the next stage.

The conditions are that the coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan, that the number of people dying or needing hospital treatment with the virus is diminishing sufficiently, that infection rates do not suggest an looming upsurge in hospital admissions and that no new coronavirus variant fundamentally changes the risk of lifting restrictions.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also announced plans for her nation's way out of lockdown, with restaurants and non-essential shops opening on 26 April at the earliest.

Northern Ireland and Wales have not yet outlined their plans.

 

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