On 22nd February, the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced the Government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England.
The 4-step roadmap offers a route back to a more normal way of life. This has undoubtedly provided many citizens across the country with plenty of hope – hope that we may well be able to control the COVID-19 coronavirus and, for some, hope of a summer holiday too.
The Main Aspects Of These 4 Steps
An opinion shared by the majority of the nation is that getting children back into school is our top priority. From 8th March, step 1 of the Government’s roadmap will be set in motion and involves the return of children and students to face-to-face education in schools and colleges.
By this date, everyone in the top 4 vaccine priority groups will have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine.
Step 2, which will be introduced no sooner than 12th April, includes the reopening of non-essential retail, personal care premises and public buildings. Indoor leisure facilities will also reopen, but only for customers to visit alone or with their household, and hospitality venues will be able to serve customers outdoors only.
The number of attendees permitted at weddings, receptions and commemorative events will rise to 15, whilst funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners.
Starting no earlier than 17th May, step 3 involves the lifting of most social contact rules. Indoor hospitality and entertainment venues will reopen and up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events, as well as funerals.
Step 4 will begin no sooner than 21st June. It is hoped that all legal limits on social contact can be lifted from this date, along with restrictions on large events. At this time, a decision will be made on removing all limits on weddings and other events.
Between each step, there will be at least 4 weeks to allow the data to reflect the changes in restrictions and then 7 days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased. This will allow adequate time for the impact of each step to be assessed, reducing the risk of reimposing restrictions.
Over 20 million people in the UK have now had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. A target of the UK’s vaccination programme is to offer the first dose of a vaccine to every adult by the end of July.
It is thought that the increased protection the vaccines deliver will gradually replace the restrictions in England. The Government’s roadmap provides the principles of that transition.
What about the strains of coronavirus that aren’t controlled by our vaccines?