Boris Johnson reveals he WILL set out lockdown lifting target dates when he announces roadmap on February 22
BORIS Johnson has revealed today that he will set out lockdown lifting target dates when he announces a roadmap on February 22.
The PM announced that the path out of Covid lockdown and back to a more normal way of life will become clearer next week, giving an early indicator of when shops, restaurants and pubs could reopen once again.
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He said: "If we possibly can, we'll be setting out dates.
"Just to help people think about what we’re trying to do on the 22nd – just remember what we did around this time last year or a little bit later, we set out a roadmap going forward into the summer and looking a little bit beyond – that’s what we’re going to be trying to do."
Boris said the roadmap would be "cautious but irreversible".
"The dates that we’ll be setting out will be the dates by which we hope we can do something at the earliest… the target date.
"If because of the rate of infection we have to push something off a little bit, delay it for a little bit, we won’t hesitate to do that.
"I think people would much rather see a plan that was cautious, but irreversible and one that proceeds sensibly and in accordance with where we are with the disease."
The confirmation of dates for restrictions being wound back comes after speculation that the PM wanted to only set out the order for when rules would be changed, rather than commit to an exact time for each.
However, Boris said he wouldn't hesitate to push the dates back depending on how many Covid cases and deaths there were.
He also said Covid cases need to come right down to ease the nation's lockdown – or they will spike again and infect the elderly later.
The PM that the rate of infection was a key part of lifting the restrictions on the nation as he warned: "We want to see progress that is cautious but irreversible."
Boris said he didn't want to have to row back and force the nation into yet more shutdowns, so would be moving slowly to get the nation back to normal when he announces his plan next week.
He said: "Rates of infection, although they are coming down, are still high" – warning that vulnerable people were still at risk.
"We would like to see the rates of infection come down very low indeed.
"We want to drive it right down, and keep it right down."
BACK TO SCHOOL
On reopening schools, he said no decisions had yet been made on whether to get all kids back at the same time, or stagger them in from March 8 but insisted: "We will do everything we can to make that happen".
The PM has said this would be the "earliest" the Government would allow schools to reopen.
He vowed not to send children back too soon or there was a huge risk the nation could be "forced into reverse" and would have to turn on the brakes once again.
The PM has repeatedly said schools are his "number one priority."
Last summer Boris announced a slew of target dates to reopen the nation – which were stuck to in most places, except for some regional lockdowns.
Quarantine hotels have opened today, with a 10-day stay costing travellers £1,750 each.
Current lockdown legislation ends on March 31 meaning new legislation would be needed to extend the tough restrictions.
It is unlikely that all restrictions will have ended by then.
Face masks and social distancing measures are likely to stay in place for the long-term.
TAKE IT OUTSIDE
Brits should be able to enjoy drinks alfresco outside from April if cases continue to fall at the current rate.
A government source told The Sun: “We will hopefully be sipping pints in the spring sunshine sooner rather than later.”
Hospitality had been earmarked to reopen in May, with only takeaway pints allowed in April.
But it's hoped this will sped up in a major boost to the blighted sector.
A wider reopening for limited indoor mixing in pubs and restaurants is still planned for May.
Sports fans could also be sent Covid tests along with their tickets so they can watch major events including the Euros and Wimbledon again this summer.
It has also been reported previously that the PM was hoping to reunite families to allow them to mingle by Easter. Good Friday falls on April 2.
The Government is aiming to have all priority groups and over 50s vaccinated by May.
There have been no concrete dates on when younger groups will get their jabs, however it is likely that some can expect to be invited for their first dose in the months after the deadline.
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