Lockdown end date: Could lockdown be over by MAY? Boris blasted for slow rules relaxing

Van-Tam warns coronavirus will have 'recurrent winter problems'

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure to ease lockdown sooner as Covid cases, deaths and hospital admissions continue to plummet, according to official figures. Bosses from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) recorded 9,938 new infections on Wednesday, down by a fifth from last week. Another 442 deaths were added to the toll, but this too was a decline of more than 40 percent. Hospital admissions also saw a decrease as they plunged below 1,000 for the first time since the end of October.

Mr Johnson has since been facing mounting calls from anti-lockdown backbenchers in his own party to bring the date forward from June 21 to May.

But it’s worth noting that, inevitably, these same people will criticise the Government if lockdown is eased too quickly and restrictions have to be implemented for the fourth time.

The Prime Minister has shrugged off demands from his own MPs to “show urgency” after Number 10 flatly ruled out accelerating the ultra-cautious timetable.

Professor Neil Ferguson reiterated his view that it could be possible to shift the timeline if vaccine and infection rates continue to exceed expectations.

Conservative MP Sir Desmond Swayne told reporters Mr Johnson must open the door to bringing the roadmap schedule forward.

Mr Swayne said: “Where is the sense of urgency gone about limiting the damage we are doing to our economy and social life?

“My frustration is that he said it would be data driven and then announced a series of not-before dates.

“Those not-before dates can be delayed, but there appears to be no scope to bringing it forward. I would think that as the statistics change… the appetite of the public will change.”

Could lockdown be over by May?

The Government is unlikely to change its mind on the timetable given how the pandemic plan has gone so far.

Last year was disastrous. The country went in and out of lockdown which wreaked havoc on people’s livelihoods, finances and employment.

The Government is likely very adamant not to make the same mistake twice, as to do so would imperil the country and the economy even more.

England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam said he thought the current plan is “appropriate”.

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The five-week gap between easing restrictions is vital to ensure the outbreak isn’t getting out of control again, he added.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson also dismissed the notion there could be a change in pace at this evening’s Downing Street briefing.

Mr Williamson said: “As the Prime Minister said, there are no plans whatsoever to be moving ahead of the dates that have already been given.

“We want to give the public as well as business the confidence and the assurance as to when these next steps are going to be happening.”

The Education Secretary added: “But there is certainly no plans to be moving ahead of that [timeline].”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries, said the timelines have been set “for very good public health reasons”.

A Downing Street spokesperson said on Wednesday: “The date set out in the roadmap are the earliest any changes will take place.

“We are very clear they will not come forward.”

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