The Prime Minister has delivered a statement to the House of Commons on the Government’s plan for easing lockdown measures in England. The full roadmap can be found here. Please see our summary below.
Key points from the statement are:
- The threat of the virus remains substantial.
- 17.5m people have been vaccinated. The vaccination programme makes the roadmap possible; the PM hopes every adult will be offered a first dose of the vaccine by the end of July.
- Lifting lockdown will result in more cases, more hospitalisations and more deaths. This would happen whenever lockdown was lifted, whether it be now or in six to nine months time.
- There is no credible route to a zero covid Britain or world and for this reason we cannot stick with restrictions indefinitely.
- The roadmap will be cautious but irreversible.
- For the duration of the pandemic the Government will support jobs and livelihoods across the UK. More details will be set out in the Budget next week.
- We must remain alert to mutations of the virus, next month an updated plan of responding to local outbreaks will be published. Restrictions at local and regional level cannot be ruled out if need be.
Before proceeding to the next step of the roadmap these tests must be satisfied:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.
takes four weeks for data to reflect the impact of the relaxation of
restrictions so there will be at least five weeks between each step so the data
can be analysed and the public given a week notice. Steps will be led by data
and not dates.
Step 1 (from the 8th March):
- Pupils and students in all schools and further education settings can return to face to face teaching. Twice weekly testing will be put in place for secondary and college students.
- People will be able to meet one person from another household for outdoor recreation in addition to exercise.
- Regulations will be amended to allow a broader set of activities ahead of the local elections.
Limited changes from the 29th March (when schools go on Easter Holidays):
- It will become possible to eat outdoors in limited numbers.
- Outdoor sports facilities will be able to reopen as will formally organised outdoor sports.
- From the 29th March people will no longer be legally required to stay at home but many lockdown restrictions will stay in place.
Step 2 (no earlier than the 12th April):
- Non-essential retail and personal care establishments will reopen .
- Gyms and holiday lets will be able to reopen.
- Pubs and restaurants will open outdoors, no curfew will be in place and alcohol will not need to be purchased alongside a substantial meal.
Step 3 (no earlier than the 17th May):
- Most restrictions on outdoor meetings will be lifted subject to a limit of 30.
- People will be able to see friends and family indoors subject to the rule of six or rule of two households.
- Pubs, restaurants hotels, theatres, concert halls will open.
- Fans will be allowed back at sports venues.
- Pilot events will take place with advanced testing.
Step 4 (no earlier than the 21st June):
- All legal limits on social contact will end.
- Everything up to and including nightclubs will reopen.
- Theatre performances and large events above limits above the limits of step three will be able to resume.
Four further reviews will take place, these will look at:
- How long social distancing and the wearing of facemasks needs to continue for. This will inform guidance on working from home.
- The resumption of international travel, successor to the global travel taskforce will report by the 12th of April so people can plan for the summer.
- Covid status certificates to help venues to open safely.
- The safe return of major events.