England is in the midst of its third national lockdown and Brits are eagerly awaiting an announcement from Boris Johnson on how lockdown will eventually start to ease. In his roadmap announcement today, it is hoped the Prime Minister will outline when people will be allowed to start meeting again in social settings. The Prime Minister is expected to announce a four-stage roadmap out of lockdown for England in his speech to the Commons later and in his following television address today.
The assessment of whether to ease lockdown measures will be based on the continued successful rollout of the vaccine programme.
There will also need to be evidence showing vaccines are effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
Lockdown measures will also only be eased if infection rates do not pose a risk in hospitalisations increasing.
Measures will also only be eased if risks are not increased by the development of any new ‘variants of concern’.
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Mr Johnson said: “Today I’ll be setting out a roadmap to bring us out of lockdown cautiously.
“Our priority has always been getting children back into school which we know is crucial for their education as well as their mental and physical wellbeing, and we will also be prioritising ways for people to reunite with loved ones safely.
“Our decisions will be made on the latest data at every step, and we will be cautious about this approach so that we do not undo the progress we have achieved so far and the sacrifices each and every one of you has made to keep yourself and others safe.
“We have therefore set four key tests which must be met before we can move through each step of the plan.”
However, it is unclear whether people who live in different areas will be allowed to meet if non-essential travel bans are not lifted.
A senior Whitehall source told the Telegraph: “What the public is longing for more than anything is seeing family members and loved ones.
“It’s been a very long time and a difficult year.”
Care home residents will also reportedly be allowed one visitor from March 8, which is also when schools are expected to start returning.
The move will undoubtedly come as a relief to care home residents, who have spent many months without in-person support from their families due to the virus.
Visitors will need to be Covid tested before visits and must wear PPE, but they will be allowed to hold hands with their loved one and meet indoors.