Boris Johnson discusses the ‘roadmap’ for reopening of schools
Boris Johnson introduced another national lockdown in England in early 2021, and MPs overwhelmingly voted to back the move. The current lockdown can remain in place until the end of March, according to the lockdown legislation passed in the Commons. However, the Prime Minister has promised the public a review of the lockdown in February, followed by an announcement of a detailed roadmap out of lockdown later in the month.
When will Boris Johnson outline the end of the lockdown roadmap?
The next review of the lockdown in England is due to take place in mid-February.
Very little is expected to change on this date, with most lockdown measures expected to remain in place until at least March 8, which is the date the Prime Minister said he hoped schools will be able to start returning from.
However, details of how the UK lockdown will unfold are expected to be announced later in February, as Mr Johnson has now confirmed he will be outlining the UK’s “roadmap” out of lockdown in the week beginning February 22.
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In a video posted on Twitter on Friday, Mr Johnson reiterated his promise to announce a “steady programme for beginning to unlock” in just over two weeks’ time.
However Mr Johnson warned it was “still early days”, and he urged the public to continue following the lockdown rules.
He said: “I want to stress that it is still early days and we have rates of infection in this country (that are) still very, very high and (have) more people – almost twice as many people – in our hospitals with Covid now than there were back at the peak in April.”
Covid cases are still significantly high in the UK, and on Friday the UK reported 19,114 new cases of COVID-19, along with 1,014 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
But cases are now starting to drop as every week goes by, with the R rate for the UK now believed to be between 0.7 and 1, and the latest growth rate per day estimated between -5 and -2 percent.
In the last seven days 138,760 new Covid cases have been reported in the UK, a drop of 26.5 percent compared to the previous seven-day period.
Vaccine rollout is also well underway, and more than 10 million people have now received their first vaccine dose.
More than half a million people have now also received their second vaccine dose.
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How will vaccine rollout affect the UK’s exit from lockdown?
The Government is aiming to vaccinate all the top priority groups by May, and it is hoped this will allow lockdown restrictions to start to fully ease.
The chairman of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce said today he was “optimistic” the UK will reach all over-50s and those aged 16 to 65 in an at-risk group by May.
Clive Dix told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Every time we’ve been set an objective in the taskforce, we’ve met it and we will work day and night to ensure whatever the target that is feasible can be met.
“I’m very optimistic that we will definitely meet the May target.”
The UK has already approved the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines for use in the UK, along with the Covid vaccine from US pharmaceutical brand Moderna.
Further vaccines are awaiting approval, and if they meet the UK regulator’s safety standards, it is hoped the UK will have ample supply of vaccine ready for later this year.
The UK has secured 100 million doses of the Valneva vaccine which, if approved, will be manufactured in Scotland.
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