Boris 'optimistic' about easing lockdown as he hints at three-stage plan

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Boris Johnson said he is ‘optimistic’ he will be able to announce the relaxation of some Covid restrictions when he unveils his roadmap out of lockdown on February 22. 

The Prime Minister reaffirmed his immediate commitment to reopen schools on March 8 but also said he hopes to make announcements on non-essential shops and pubs. 

Speaking during a visit to the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies plant in Billingham, Teesside, where the new Novavax vaccine will be manufactured, the Prime Minister said: ‘I’m optimistic, I won’t hide it from you. I’m optimistic, but we have to be cautious.’

It comes after reports claimed pubs and restaurants could serve alcohol and food outdoors from Easter weekend at the beginning of April.

The PM suggested he had a three-stage plan in place with shops and pubs able to reopen after schools.

‘Our children’s education is our number one priority, but then working forward, getting non-essential retail open as well and then, in due course as and when we can prudently, cautiously, of course we want to be opening hospitality as well,’ he said.

‘I will be trying to set out as much as I possibly can in as much detail as I can, always understanding that we have to be wary of the pattern of disease. We don’t want to be forced into any kind of retreat or reverse ferret.’

More to follow

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