Europe

When do we come out of lockdown? PM to signal return to ‘normality’

Sajid Javid says lifting lockdown is his 'absolute priority'

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Covid has profoundly changed most people’s lives in the UK, stymying social contact and movement since March. The protective methods have been instrumental in saving lives by eliminating Covid infection routes. But many people have grown tired of the sweeping measures, Government ministers among them.

When do we come out of lockdown?

Officially, the Prime Minister hopes to have the England exit lockdown on July 19.

Pre-Covid life should have resumed on June 21, but the Government postponed its “Freedom Day” amid increasing infection rates.

The upcoming occasion is, according to Mr Johnson, a “terminus” of his Covid roadmap.

The fourth and final stage would see the Government abandon most, if not all, remaining Covid restrictions during one of the most significant infection spikes of the past year.

The seven-day rolling case average currently sits at just over 23,000, meaning the Government could consider another future lockdown or some lingering measures.

The current trend suggests the Prime Minister will aim for the latter when he briefs the nation from Downing Street this evening.

But this will come with an overt focus on “personal responsibility”.

According to the Financial Times, “normality” will return in some form by the terminus date.

The publication said he would tell the nation: “We are progressing cautiously through our road map.

“Today, we will set out how we can restore people’s freedoms when we reach step 4.”

Both he and Health Secretary Sajid Javid have suggested the public learn to “live with” the virus, but today Mr Johnson will take a more cautious approach.

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He will add: “But I must stress that the pandemic is not over.

“We must all continue to carefully manage the risks from Covid and exercise judgment when going about our lives.”

Number 10 added Mr Johnson would outline the “next steps” for the one-metre social distancing rules face coverings and home working.

The speech suggests the Government won’t pursue a completely hands-off approach.

Experts have previously urged ministers to reconsider and not end lockdown in its entirety.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said it is “crucial” to keep “cautious” measures in place.

Council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the Government shouldn’t make an “all or nothing” decision on July 19.

He said: “Ministers must not now simply disregard the most recent, damning, numbers by rushing into meeting their new July 19 deadline.”

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