London Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that one of Europe’s strictest pandemic lockdown measures will be relaxed. After that, children in England will return to class and people will be able to see friends outside drinking coffee in two weeks. . .
But those who desire a haircut, dine in a restaurant or drink a pint in a bar have to wait for nearly two months, and people have to wait until May at the earliest to embrace someone they don’t love.
Johnson said the government’s plan It will allow the country to escape the blockade “cautiously but irreversibly”
He told members of the House of Commons: “We are embarking on a one-way road to freedom.”
The UK has the deadliest coronavirus in Europe, with more than 120,000 deaths. Faced with major virus variants that scientists say are easier to spread and lethal than the original virus, the country has spent the entire winter under tight lockdowns, which is the third time since March 2020. Bars, restaurants, gyms, schools, hair salons, and non-essential shops are closed. People are urged not to travel. Foreign holidays are illegal.
This situation will slowly change on March 8, when the children return to school and people can meet a friend or relative to chat or have a picnic outdoors. After three weeks, people will be able to gather in small groups outdoors for exercise or relaxation.
According to government plans, shops and hairdressers will reopen on April 12. Pubs and restaurants will also reopen, although only outdoors. Indoor venues such as theaters and cinemas, as well as indoor seating in bars and restaurants are scheduled to open on May 17, and a small number of people will be able to return to the stadium. This is also the earliest date that a British person may be allowed to take vacation abroad.
The final phase of the plan is scheduled to take place on June 21. The final phase of this phase will remove all legal restrictions on social contacts, and nightclubs can reopen after 15 months of closure.
The government said that if infections increase, the appointment date may be postponed.
The announced measures apply to England. The confinement locations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all slightly different. Some children returned to class in Scotland and Wales on Monday.
The hope of returning to normal mainly depends on the UK’s rapidly developing vaccination program, which has provided vaccination to more than 17.5 million people, which is one-third of the country’s adult population and the first of two doses of vaccine. The government’s goal is to vaccinate every adult by July 31.
Johnson said the vaccine will help the UK through a “tragic year.”
But the government warned that the recovery of social and economic life in the country will be slow. Johnson’s Conservative government was accused of reopening the country too quickly after the first lock in the spring, and rejected scientific advice before being locked by a brief “circuit breaker” in the fall.
Although Johnson was under pressure from some Conservative MPs and business owners, they did not want to make the same mistake again. They believed that restrictions should be lifted quickly to revitalize the hard-hit economy.
The Conservative government-which is usually a large sum of public spending-spent 280 billion pounds ($393 billion) in 2020 to deal with the pandemic, including billions of people paying the salaries of nearly 10 million workers on leave.
Adam Marshall, the director general of the British Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the “clearness” of the reopening date, but said that “the future of thousands of companies and millions of jobs is still up in the air.”
Johnson said that the government’s annual budget statement on March 3 will include new measures “to protect Britain’s jobs and livelihoods.”
The government said that further relaxation will depend on the fact that the vaccine can effectively reduce the hospitalization rate and death rate, the infection rate is still low, and there will be no new virus variants, which will cause the plan to fall into chaos.
Two British studies released on Monday showed that the COVID-19 vaccination program is leading to a sharp decline in disease and hospitalization rates, which has increased the hope that these vaccines will be as effective as strictly controlled studies in the real world.
The preliminary results of a study in Scotland found that Pfizer vaccine reduced the hospitalization rate by up to 85% four weeks after the first injection, while the AstraZeneca injection reduced the hospitalization rate by up to 94%. In England, preliminary data from a study of health care workers showed that Pfizer vaccine reduced the risk of contracting COVID-19 by 70% after one injection, and rose to 85% for the second time.
The scientists emphasized that the results are only preliminary.
Johnson said that even with the vaccine, a reopened society will inevitably lead to more infections and deaths.
He said, “There is no reliable way to the zero gas Britain or indeed a zero gas world.”
However, he added: “We cannot insist on restrictions indefinitely. This will destroy our economy, physical and mental health and children’s life opportunities.”
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