British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, visits a drug manufacturing facility during a visit to Northeast England on February 13, 2021.
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LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce on Monday how and when the lockdown restrictions will begin in England.
Government ministers are expected to discuss details of the “road map” to cautiously ease the closure on Monday morning. The prime minister is scheduled to present the proposals to Parliament later in the afternoon, before holding a televised press conference in the evening.
Johnson is expected to put the most recent data on infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as early data showing the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines.
It is also expected to confirm the reopening of schools in England on March 8, and to reveal more details about other restrictions due to be lifted.
The government said in a statement that lifting the country’s third lockdown since early January “will seek to balance health, economic and social factors with the latest epidemiological data and advice.”
Johnson has said repeatedly that the easing of measures would be cautious and driven by “data, not dates.” However, he also said he wants the lifting of restrictions to be “irreversible” as he is under pressure from his conservative party members to reopen the economy.
However, the government emphasized that mitigation should be done in stages to avoid any jumps in infection rates.
“Today I will lay out a roadmap to get us out of closure with caution,” Boris Johnson said in remarks published before Monday’s announcement.
“Our priority has always been to bring children back to school that we know is essential to their education as well as their mental and physical health, and we will also prioritize ways to safely reunite people with loved ones.”
Patients arrive in ambulances at the Royal London Hospital, on 05 January 2021 in London, England. The British Prime Minister made a national television address Monday evening announcing that England would enter its third lockdown in the Covid-19 epidemic. This week, the United Kingdom recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the seventh consecutive day.
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“Our decisions will be made on the most recent data at every step, and we will be cautious about this approach so as not to undo the progress we have made so far and the sacrifices each of you has made to keep yourself and others safe.”
Johnson said the government has put in place four major tests that must be met before Britain can proceed with every step of the plan. and this is:
- The vaccine deployment program should continue successfully.
- Evidence indicates that vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalizations and deaths among those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk an increase in hospitalizations that would put an unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- Its risk assessment has not changed mainly due to the new worrisome coronavirus variants.
The government said that with the four tests currently met, the first step to lift the lockdown restrictions will start on March 8. The government has already said that nursing home residents will be able to receive one visitor from that date.
After schools reopened, the government indicated that further measures could be relaxed to allow for limited outdoor social contact and sports.
The BBC reported Monday that from March 29, outdoor gatherings for six people or two families are expected, and outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts can reopen. The broadcaster added, “It is also understood that people will again be able to travel outside of their home areas – although the guidelines will likely still recommend staying locally, and overnight stays will not be permitted.” It is uncertain when unnecessary bars, restaurants and shops will be allowed to reopen.
One silver aspect of the UK’s experience with a pandemic has been its response to vaccination. It was the first country in the world to adopt the Coronavirus vaccine candidate Pfizer And the BiotechnologyThe snapshot was released in early December to its older residents, health care workers, healthcare staff and hospital.
Then it is approved and start managing AstraZeneca/ Oxford University Vaccine, which is a cheaper vaccine produced in the UK and easier to transport and store than competing vaccines, allowing it to maintain an enviable vaccination rate.
Since then, it has expanded the spread to include more priority groups, such as all those considered to be clinically at risk, and Plan to vaccinate every adult UK citizen before the end of July, To deliver this goal in September. As of Saturday, more than 17.5 million adults have received their first dose of the Coronavirus vaccine, and more than 600,000 have received the two doses. According to government data.
Florian Haines, Berenberg’s chief economist, told CNBC on Monday that “the rest of the world is looking at the UK” to see how the restrictions will be lifted.
“There are a number of issues that make the UK have to do relatively well over the next few months given that it has reduced infection dramatically … and that there is more news about how effective vaccines are. But of course it will take two months to return to more normal levels. “.
Ed Davey, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, told CNBC that the government had been right to prioritize getting children back into school, but questioned the rationale for all students returning immediately, something that alarmed teachers and unions.
“If there is a fourth shutdown, because the prime minister has erred again, it will be a disaster for our schools and companies,” he said. “So the liberal Democrats say we of course welcome the reopening, but let’s do it in a way that prevents and avoids the fourth lockdown.”
Data shows that new infections are declining, as early studies indicate that coronavirus vaccines also help prevent transmission of the virus, as well as prevent dangerous diseases.
In the past seven days, the UK saw 77,432 new cases of coronavirus, down 16.2% from the previous weekly number. The number of deaths in the past seven days, 3,414 deaths, is also 27.4% lower than the number of previous seven days. Hospitalization is declining.
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