Lifting Covid lockdown could be decided by March

The Government ‘hopes to make decisions’ on gradually lifting England’s national lockdown restrictions by early spring, the foreign secretary has said.

Dominic Raab said this morning that the relaxing of rules ‘won’t be done in one big bang but in a gradual, phased way’.

When the nation was plunged into its third lockdown early this month, the prime minister said restrictions would continue until mid-February – but stopped short of confirming a clear date.

He told Sky News that he hoped some restrictions can be lifted by March so the country can ‘get back to normal’ and the Government will publish its exit plan in due course.

Mr Raab said the new variants and the significant pressure on the NHS are currently putting that option ‘at risk’, as he urged people to follow the rules.

In further updates, the foreign secretary confirmed that every adult in the UK should have been offered their first Covid-19 jab by September.

He said: ‘Our target is by September to have offered all the adult population a first dose. If we can do it faster than that, great, but that’s the roadmap.

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