Boris Johnson’s latest updates from Downing Street briefing have confirmed England will progress to the next stage of lockdown lifting as he said the roadmap was on track.
Boris says there is “nothing in the present data,” such as a surge in cases, or a new variant emerging, which suggests that the UK will have to deviate from its current roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions.
The government set four tests for the continued lifting of lockdown in England – successful vaccination rollout, those vaccines reducing hospitalisations and deaths, infection rates not presenting a risk of unsustainable pressure on the NHS and new variants not fundamentally changing the picture.
More than 31 million people have been given their first dose of the vaccine, the numbers in hospital are more than 10 times lower than they were at the peak, while deaths have continued falling sharply.
Boris Johnson encourages the public to take tests from local test sites, even if they are not feeling unwell, and says these tests are available from local testing centres, pharmacies, and can be delivered to your door.
He says the government is today publishing its “early thinking” on the return of normal events, and the potential of “Covid status certificates” to confirm if someone currently has immunity to the virus.
“We’re setting out our roadmap, and we’re sticking with it,” he states.
Prof Whitty says vaccines are being rolled out at “a remarkable rate” and the figures are “heading very much in the right direction”.
Whitty says that looking at the data from people who have been vaccinated in all four nations of the UK, the government has “consistently” found a significant reduction in symptomatic disease – by about 60% and for hospitalisations the reduction is around 80%.
He says this shows vaccines are highly effective but not completely effective and people should make sure they get their second dose.
This means that from 12 April:
- Non-essential shops and close-contact services such as hairdressers and barbers can reopen
- Restaurants and pubs can start serving customers outdoors, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcohol, and no curfew. However, people will have to eat and drink while seated
- Gyms and spas can reopen, as can zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres
- Members of the same household can take a holiday in England in self-contained accommodation
- Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place
- Funerals can continue with up to 30 attendees.
- The number of care home visitors allowed will increase to two per resident
- All children will be able to attend any indoor children’s activity, including sport
- Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five years old) can restart indoors