Boris Johnson issues warning about third wave of coronavirus
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The UK is rapidly approaching the one-year mark since lockdown began and many are hopeful lockdown measures will fully ease this year. Last month, Boris Johnson outlined his ‘roadmap’ for easing England out of lockdown. The Prime Minister set out a number of dates which could see sectors of society reopen over the coming months, however, he stressed the easing of measures will be based on “data, not dates”.
Is the roadmap plan still on track?
At the moment, ministers are confident the next stage of restrictions will ease in line with the roadmap outlined earlier this year.
However, a number of hurdles could lie in the UK’s way which could potentially derail the lockdown easing plan.
Mr Johnson warned on Monday a third wave of Covid-19 infections in Europe could eventually reach the UK.
He said: “Previous experience has taught us that when a wave hits our friends, it, I’m afraid, washes up on our shores as well and I expect that we will feel those effects in due course.”
While a fresh wave of infections could certainly derail the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown, there is also the looming threat of potential bans on vaccine exports to the UK.
EU Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has threatened to block vaccines from the bloc to the UK in the wake of the EU’s struggling vaccine programme.
However, when asked about the risk of the EU’s actions derailing Britain’s vaccine programme, Mr Johnson said he did not think that that would happen.
He said: “I’m reassured by talking to EU partners over the last few months, they don’t want to see blockades, I think that’s very very important.”
The Prime Minister also said Britain would be continuing with its vaccination programme, and confirmed that the plan to ease restrictions in line with the roadmap was on track.
When is the next lockdown review?
The Government is currently reviewing whether the next stage of lockdown easing can go ahead on March 29.
During recent appearances, Mr Johnson has been confident measures will be eased in line with the next stage of the roadmap.
Lockdown measures will be eased based on four factors, including the ongoing successful rollout of the vaccine, as well as evidence the vaccines are working to prevent hospitalisations and deaths.
Infection rates must also not risk a surge in hospitalisations and the assessment of the risk must not be influenced by new Variants of Concern.
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Will the rules still change on March 29?
If lockdown measures ease in line with the roadmap plan, then March 29 is expected to see the end of the “stay at home” rule.
However, people will still be advised to stay local once the stay at home order is lifted.
On this date, people will be allowed to meet outside either with one other household or within the “rule of six”.
The rules on outdoor socialising will extend to private gardens as well as public spaces.
Outdoor sports facilities are also pencilled in to reopen, including golf courses.
Formally organised outdoor sports are also expected to restart on this date.
Weddings up with up to six people will also be able to resume.
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