John Swinney defends need for continued coronavirus lockdown
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England was plunged into its third national lockdown back in January as cases of the virus continued to rise. But as of today, the country begins to slowly unlock the restrictions as part of the Government’s roadmap to ease lockdown.
The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, has listed the three lockdown restrictions that have been eased as of today.
She tweeted: “Also today – the slow start of the unlock in England… schools heading back, one-to-one outdoor meetups allowed again and more care home visits can start – govt desperate for this to be the last time.”
Students returning to school today will be tested three times a week for the virus over the first fortnight of school.
Thereafter, they will receive two tests a week, which they can use at home.
The Government has delivered nearly 57 million lateral flow testing kits to schools and colleges.
For many children, this will be their first time back in classes since the beginning of the year.
Professor Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical advisor, has given his blessing for schools to return.
He said that “everything is strongly in favour” of the reopening of school gates.
As part of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, there will be further changes from March 29.
Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed, providing greater flexibility for families to see each other, including private gardens.
Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, will be allowed to reopen, and people can take part in formal organised outdoor sports.
As of April 12, non-essential retail, personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres, will reopen.
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Most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos, and theme parks, will also reopen although wider social contact rules will apply.
Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen – but only for use by people on their own or with their household.
From May 17, the Government hopes most social contact rules will be lifted, although gatherings of more than 30 people will remain illegal.
By June 21, all legal limits of social contact will be removed.
The UK has been one of the worst-hit countries in Europe as the number of cases hit 4,218,520.
The death figure has also exceeded 100,000.
However, the UK has been widely celebrated for the vaccination rollout.
To date, more than 22,000,000 people in the UK have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
More than 1,000,000 people have received their second dose.
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