Boris Johnson outlines plans to ‘reopen schools in March’
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, the Prime Minister outlined a timetable for when the UK could begin to return to normality. He pledged to publish a detailed plan to start to relax the restrictions in the months ahead.
Mr Johnson said he hoped to be able to “populate the diary” with estimated dates for the loosening of specific restrictions in the “next few weeks”.
He added: “The way forward has been clear ever since the vaccines arrived and, as we inoculate more people hour by hour, this is the time to hold our nerve in the endgame of the battle against the virus.
“Our goal now must be to buy the extra weeks we need to immunise the most vulnerable and get this virus under control, so that together we can defeat this most wretched disease, reclaim our lives once and for all.”
The Prime Minister said the relaxing of restrictions would be “gradual and phased”.
With schools remaining a top priority, he pledged returning children to classrooms would be the first bit of lockdown to be released.
“The first sign of normality beginning to return should be pupils going back to their classrooms,” he said.
Express.co.uk has gathered the most important dates over the next six weeks as the UK begins to look ahead at the return to normality.
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By the middle of next month the Government is hoping to have vaccinated the top four priority groups.
Determined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, the group included all over 70s, older care home residents and care home staff, and those who work for the NHS.
The group is made up of 13 million Brits.
More than seven million have been vaccinated so far, with the Government on track to hit the target.
Week commencing February 15
Parliament is due to break-up for a week long recess.
During this week Ministers will launch a review into the coronavirus pandemic, based on the data available.
Government scientists believe from February 15 they will have sufficient data from the UK vaccine programme and international vaccine programmes to understand the effects the vaccines are having in preventing hospitalisations and deaths.
Six weeks on from England’s third national lockdown, it will also be cleared by then how successful the coronavirus measures have been in bringing down infections, and there will be an assessment on how many people are still in hospital with Covid.
All the evidence will be compiled to understand the current situation and the way forward.
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Week commencing February 22
Upon MPs’ return to Parliament, the Government will present the Commons with the findings of its review of the data.
It will use the evidence collated in the review to outline a roadmap for easing restrictions with estimated dates for when restrictions will ease and in what order.
Three weeks after the last of the top four priority cohorts ave received their first vaccine jab, all of the most vulnerable across the UK should have built up immunity to Cover.
It takes between 18-21 days before anyone who has received a jab is immunised properly.
On this date, the first step of the unlocking the restrictions will take place with schools beginning to re-open.
Week commencing March 8
After schools have re-opened, other coronavirus restrictions will begin to be eased in accordance to the roadmap outlined in February.
The Government will be clear all of the restrictions remain subject to a continued fall in coronavirus cases and no new potentially vaccine-resistant variants the virus being discovered.
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