Boris Johnson discusses the ‘roadmap’ for reopening of schools
As the UK rapidly approaches a year since the first lockdown began back in March 2020, many are wondering when restrictions will finally ease and life can start to go back to normal. The UK’s vaccination programme is now well underway, but coronavirus cases remain concerningly high. Yesterday some 19,114 people tested positive for the virus as the death toll rose by another 1,014 people to a harrowing total of 112,660. But the figures are slowly falling, with 26.5 percent less new positive tests week on week and 20 percent fewer hospital admissions, indicating the UK could be turning a corner.
Boris Johnson pledged to outline a “roadmap” out of lockdown later this month, with the next review due on February 22.
The Prime Minister has already indicated that school will not open until March 8 at the very earliest, meaning we’re likely going to stay in lockdown for the remainder of this month.
But with the UK vaccine rollout gathering steam, many are eagerly looking forward to the date the UK economy finally unlocks.
Millions of people have now received their first coronavirus vaccinations, with a total fo 15 percent of the UK population thought to have had the first dose.
Data shows that up to February 4, 10,971,047 people have received their first Covid vaccines, and now more than half a million people have also now received their second dose.
It is hoped widespread vaccination of the most vulnerable groups will help to ease the UK out of lockdown over the coming months.
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When will lockdown end in England? Key dates for possible restriction easing in May
When will lockdown end in England? Boris Johnson will outline his ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown later this month
What could the lockdown roadmap look like?
With several shops and hospitality businesses shut for many months now, the Prime Minister is expected to outline how these businesses will be allowed to reopen in his announcement later this month.
At the moment, ministers have been vague about when restrictions could start to ease for each area of society.
But Express.co.uk has compiled a breakdown of the key dates the UK can look forward to this year.
When will lockdown end in England? Covid restrictions have been in place in England for several weeks
When will lockdown end in England? Covid cases remain significantly high in the UK, with 19,114 cases confirmed on February 5
The Prime Minister confirmed last week he hoped pupils in England will be allowed to return to school by the target date of March 8.
Ministers have repeatedly stressed throughout the third lockdown that getting pupils back into school is a priority, and therefore this is likely to be the first step of easing lockdown.
But University of East Anglia professor of medicine Paul Hunter said schools should reopen before this date, stressing that the remaining restrictions should the be lifted swiftly after.
He said: “I think there could well be a case for opening schools sooner — I particularly think schools for children under 11 years of age, where the evidence that they contribute to the spread of the epidemic in the wider population is a lot lower.”
Sir Graham Brady added: “I’m certainly starting to get those emails from constituents, saying, you know, we’re seeing this big improvement, and we’re seeing great success of the vaccines.
“And my children are crawling up the walls and are regressing at a critical stage in their young lives.”
According to an Express analysis of the latest NHS England data, some 35,169,947 people will have been vaccinated by March 31 – more than half the country.
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How many people have been vaccinated in your area?
Some reports have indicated a number of businesses could be allowed to start reopening from the Spring.
According to The Times, the Government is hoping non-essential shops will be able to reopen from April.
The Telegraph also reported the prospect of pubs reopening in April, with a ban on serving alcohol, is also being discussed.
However, a senior Government source dismissed the idea, telling the PA news agency: “We are not going to open pubs that can’t sell booze. What would be the point of that?”
When will lockdown end in England? Restaurants are currently closed across England
Pubs are expected to be allowed to fully reopen in May.
Mark Harper, chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of lockdown sceptics, said: “Back-of-the-envelope calculations I did based on two million doses a week mean you could get the top nine priority groups, first doses, and the top four groups, second doses, all done by the end of May.
“So it seems to me by the time you get to the end of May, no later than that, you should be in a position to get rid of restrictions completely.
“But obviously it does depend on the rollout of the vaccine.”
Sports fans could also be allowed to return to stadiums in June.
While a No 10 source hinted all UK adults could see their first dose by June.
They said: “Depending on supplies, we are hopeful that the vaccines rollout will continue to accelerate.
“But as with all highly complex programmes it remains possible that it will be disrupted at some point.”
Scientists have claimed the UK could have achieved herd immunity by July as the vaccination programme reaches swathes of the population.
University College London research revealed the R rate is already down to 0.75 — the lowest it has been since the first lockdown.
Professor Andrew Hayward, of SAGE, said: “We will be more or less back to normal for the summer.”
By August, the UK is hoping to have vaccinated all adults over 18 – with everyone having received both doses by August 14.
The Elections Map UK blog tweeted: “Reasons to be cheerful. Assuming 90 percent uptake, every UK adult will have received both doses by August 14.
“Given that more vaccines should be approved and rolled out before then, that date should only get closer and closer.”