When will the national lockdown end? Michael Gove delivers crushing blow

Lockdown: GP warns ‘we’ve lost the battle’ and rules are ‘cosmetic’

The third national lockdown in England has been imposed in an effort to try and deal with rampant Covid cases around the country. Prime Minister Boris Johnson took to a televised address from Downing Street on Monday evening to deliver the news to millions of viewers. Boris Johnson said that closing schools and non-essential businesses was the right way forward if the UK is to deal with the masses of new Covid cases brought on by the mutated virus variant. As part of the new measures, Brits have been instructed to ‘stay at home’ except for essential purposes.

Mr Johnson warned the coming weeks would be the “hardest yet” amid surging hospital admissions and deaths.

The Prime Minister said hospitals were under “more pressure from Covid than at any time since the start of the pandemic”.

Reiterating the slogan used during the early months of the pandemic, Mr Johnson urgent the public to immediately “stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives”.

And while Brits were likely hoping for a quick lockdown, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has delivered a crushing blow as to when the shut down will be lifted.

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When will the national lockdown end?

The latest lockdown restrictions are expected to be reviewed in the middle of February.

The Prime Minister set a potential end date for the latest lockdown at the end of the February school half term on February 19.

Mr Johnson did, however, stress this was contingent on the success of the vaccine rollout.

The Prime Minister has left the specific end date of lockdown vague, but ministers have warned the restrictions will be in place longer.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Gove said March was a more realistic end date for the lockdown.

Mr Gove said: “We will keep these [measures] constantly under review but you are absolutely right, we can’t predict with certainty that we will be able to lift restrictions in the week commencing February 15 to February 22.

“What we will be doing is everything that we can to make sure that as many people as possible are vaccinated, so that we can begin to progressively lift restrictions.

“I think it is right to say that as we enter March, we should be able to lift some of these restrictions, but not necessarily all.”

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Could the lockdown be extended past March?

The last lockdown saw the Government sticking to a specific timeline, with the shut down lasting one month.

But this time round, the Prime Minister has been much more cautious about setting a strict time limit on the national lockdown.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Government’s first lockdown wasn’t given a timeline before it was eased on May 10.

So with all this in mind, it’s very possible the Government will extend the lockdown past March if cases don’t come under control by then.

Everything also depends on the vaccine rollout and its success, and the reality of vaccinating enough people in a short space of time.

Confirming the latest restrictions, Mr Johnson advised the nation to remain “cautious” on the timetable ahead.

The Prime Minister has pinned hopes of stepping out of lockdown and back into normal life on the vaccine.

He said: “If our understanding of the virus doesn’t change dramatically, once again, if the rollout of the vaccine programme continues to be successful, if deaths start to fall as the vaccine takes effect and – critically – if everyone plays their part by following the rules, then I hope we can steadily move out of lockdown, reopening schools after the February half term and starting cautiously to move regions down the Tiers.”

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