The lockdown easing roadmap will be published and shared with the nation on Monday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan will begin with outlining how schools can reopen from March 8 and is then due to reveal how non-essential shops and then hospitality can reopen. But before these coronavirus restrictions can be lifted, some serious milestones must be hit to ensure a fourth lockdown does not have to be implemented.
Boris Johnson is due to address the nation and outline his “roadmap” for getting England out of lockdown on Monday, February 22.
At the weekend, Mr Johnson said he was “optimistic” about announcing plans for easing of coronavirus restrictions in England this month.
But he added he wanted to avoid being “forced into” a “reverse ferret” or U-turn at a later date.
He repeated this message at a Downing Street coronavirus press briefing on Monday.
Mr Johnson said: “This moment is a huge step forward but it’s only a first step.
“And while it shows what the country can do we must be both optimistic but also patient.
“And next week I will be setting out a roadmap saying as much as we possibly can about the route to normality even though some things are very uncertain.
“Because we want this lockdown to be the last. And we want progress to be cautious but also irreversible.”
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According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) the UK will not reach less than 1,000 new cases a day until June 1, 2021.
The daily infections and testing chart compiled by the institute shows on May 31, the current projection for new daily cases will be at 1,037.43.
However, for May 31 the worst-case scenario would see 9,365.78, while the best-case scenario where masks are worn universally would see new cases drop to 267.6.
On June 1, the new daily cases would hit 993.2 according to current projections.
According to IHME projections, if universal masks were worn, it is predicted the number of new cases would drop below 1,000 on May 6, when cases hit 994.06.
Speaking from South Wales on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said he wants to focus on “data, not dates” for easing England’s lockdown.
The PM has said his plan could include the earliest possible dates for reopening different sectors of the economy but stressed these could be pushed back if the situation with the virus changes.
Mr Johnson said: “If we possibly can, we’ll be setting out dates.
“If, because of the rate of infection, we have to push something off a little bit to the right – delay it for a little bit – we won’t hesitate to do that.”
Professor Mark Woolhouse, who sits on the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, told the Commons Science and Technology Committee it was important for the government not to be “overly focused on dates” when it comes to relaxing measures.
He added: “If you’re driven by the data and not by dates, right now you should be looking at earlier unlocking because the data are so good.”