Prime Minister Boris Johnson today said England’s plan for easing coronavirus lockdown measures was still on course, despite worries about a third wave of the virus sweeping Europe.
The prime minister said he was looking forward to getting a haircut and enjoying a pint of beer in a pub garden following the next stage of the government’s roadmap plans.
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Outdoor gatherings will be allowed for up to six people from Monday, while on 12 April pubs and restaurants will reopen for outdoor service. Non-essential retail will also be able to reopen.
Foreign travel will be banned until at least 17 May, which is also the earliest dates for indoor dining and the reopening of performance venues.
Despite his optimism about the easing plans, Johnson has emphasised that it will be “data, not dates” that will determine whether the unlocking can proceed on schedule.
“As things stand, I can see absolutely nothing in the data to dissuade me from continuing along our roadmap to freedom, unlocking our economy and getting back to the life we love,” the prime minister said in a speech to the Conservative spring conference.
His comments come after the latest data showed a recent steep fall in Covid infections was starting to level off.
But chief medical officer Chris Whitty said this slowdown was to be expected following the reopening of schools on 8 March.
Johnson has also acknowledged there was “not doubt” the third wave of the virus currently sweeping Europe would eventually reach the UK.
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However, the UK’s vaccine rollout is still continuing at pace, with 29m Brits now having received their first dose of the jab — more than half the adult population.
The government has doubled down on its aim of giving a first dose to all UK adults by the end of July.