Lockdown exit plan: Over-65s to receive Covid jabs next week lifts hope of easing | UK | News (Reports)

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The Government is on course to meeting its ambitious target of vaccinating 15 million people by the middle of February. Its successful vaccine rollout campaign has already seen 13.5 million people inoculated against the deadly virus. On Thursday alone, almost 450,000 Brits received their Covid jabs, as new data showed that deaths have fallen by a quarter in a week and new cases by as much as 34 percent.

The success of the vaccination programme has increased pressure on Mr Johnson from his own backbenchers to reopen schools on March 8 as previously promised.

Concerns are growing that the Government may seek a further delay in lifting restrictions, after it refused to confirm the exact date on which the Prime Minister will reveal his “roadmap” for easing lockdown.

The Prime Minister and his ministers have made conflicting statements about when the roadmap will be published, saying either on February 22 or later that week.

If the roadmap is published after February 22, then schools are highly unlikely to reopen on March 8.

This is because Mr Johnson has previously said that the Government will give teachers two weeks notice before children return to classes.

Asked to guarantee the school reopening date, his official spokesman said: “It’s for us to examine the data next week.

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“And, as the PM said, it is the ‘settled will’ of most MPs that pupils should be back in school on March 8.”

Downing Street sources insisted that the Prime Minister was still 100 percent committed to reopening schools by the March deadline.

A Whitehall insider told : “Nothing in the PM’s goal has changed.

“We will be studying the data next week and ­fingers crossed it will allow us to proceed as the PM has set out.”

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