Boris Johnson addresses UK one year on from first lockdown
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Lockdown will enter a new phase tomorrow as England approaches the next step in the Government’s roadmap. The exit plan will provide a route out of pandemic restrictions, with tomorrow’s change being the second stage of the first phase of changes. Further restrictions will then be lifted on April 12 and then again in mid- May, but the changes tomorrow mark a positive shift for many living in England.
What can I do from March 29?
From Monday, the Government will allow larger groups to meet outdoors.
Immediate changes on March 29 mean the rule of six applies again, along with a new household rule.
This means you can meet in groups of six or two households with larger numbers can meet outside, provided they stick to Covid guidelines and social distancing rules.
Previous gatherings limited gatherings to two people maximum, and only in public.
But the rule changes from tomorrow will now allow people to bring guests home, meaning you can BBQ with friends in the garden from this date as long as you don’t go inside.
And the ‘Stay at Home’ order will be retracted, instead being replaced by a ‘stay local’ order.
The Government will also extend the types of activity people can engage in tomorrow.
Outdoor sports facilities can also reopen from March 29, including tennis and basketball courts.
Ministers still expect people to work from home if possible, however.
The latest extensions come as a second “part” to the first phase of relaxations.
As such, people won’t regain significant freedoms until April 12 when the roadmap reaches the second phase, with restrictions akin to summer 2020.
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Speaking this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was optimistic about the future, saying there was “lots of promising evidence that a lot of people who could be vulnerable are now protected against death and serious disease”.
He added there is a “good chance” of allowing non-essential retail reopening on April 12, saying: “In just a few days’ time, I’m finally going to be able to go to the barbers.
“But more important than that, I’m going to be able to go down the street and cautiously, but irreversibly, I’m going to drink a pint of beer in the pub.
“And as things stand, I can see absolutely nothing in the data to dissuade me from continuing along our road map to freedom, unlocking our economy and getting back to the life we love.”
People can enjoy browsing shops and even a visit to a theme park.
Changes coming into effect two weeks from now include:
- Non-essential retail reopen
- Outdoor attractions and settings reopen
- Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors
- Self-contained accommodation can reopen
- Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, weddings, receptions and commemorative events up to 15
Further restrictions will then lift in mid-May, with the UK hoping to be almost back to normal by the end of June.
However, Mr Johnson has also cautioned that a “third wave” is being witnessed in parts of Europe and “bitter experience” has taught him that this could hit the UK “three weeks later”.
His warning comes after Germanys top health officials warned
there could be as many as 100,000 new coronavirus cases daily if the spread of the virus is not curbed.
Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for Infectious Diseases, said: “There are clear signals that this wave could become significantly worse than the first two waves.
“We must prepare for the number of cases rising strongly and that more people get seriously ill again, that hospital will get overburdened and that a lot of people will die.
“We are just at the beginning of this development and if we don’t massively counter-steer immediately, the consequences will be grave.”
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