BORIS Johnson announced the country would be put into lockdown last week.
It follows the regional tier system which failed to control the spread of the new coronavirus variant.
Here we look at when restrictions will be eased in more detail…
What are the current rules in England?
The government have warned that around one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without even realising.
The current lockdown rules are to stay at home unless:
- You are shopping for necessities
- You are going to work and cannot work from home
- You are going out for exercise (with your household, support bubble or one other person)
- You are meeting your support bubble or childcare bubble
- You are getting medical help
- You are taking a child to school who is eligible
New government guidance says you should stay ‘local’ meaning in the village, town or part of the city where you live.
When will lockdown end?
In a televised address to the nation on January 4, the Prime Minister pinned hopes on the rollout of the vaccines to ease the restrictions but warned that the measures being introduced are expected to last until at least the school half-term in mid-February.
His moved followed Nicola Sturgeon imposing a lockdown on Scotland for the rest of January – with schools also closed until the end of February.
Yesterday at the PM’s Downing Street press conferenvce, appearing via video link, Michael from Cornwall asked what the number of daily Covid-19 cases and deaths would have to fall to for the government to consider lifting some restrictions.
The Prime Minister explained that this was down to several factors, and not just the number of cases or daily death toll.
Mr Johnson said: “The answer is that we want to get to a stage where we’re confident that we’ve vaccinated the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) 1-4 cohorts – those in care homes, care home workers, NHS staff, those over 80, those over 70 and so on.
“The most vulnerable groups, we’ve got to do them.
“And then, depending on the effectiveness of that rolloout (and, as you know, we’re hoping to do all of them by February 15) we’ll think about what steps we could take to lift the restrictions.
“But it will also depend on what the disease is and what’s happening because what we can’t have…is any false sense of security so that we lift the restrictions altogether and then the disease really runs riot in the younger generations.
“And, as you know at the moment, I think about a third of those going into hospital are under 65 and about a quarter are under 55 – from memory.
“So it (Covid-19) can affect and does affect huge numbers of younger people as well, often very badly, and the risk is that those numbers would be greatly inflated if we let go too soon in circumstances where the disease was really rampant.
“That is not to say, Michael, that we don’t want or I don’t want to try to get to relaxations as soon as we reasonably can.
“But there are a lot of things that have to go right.
“We have to make sure the vaccine programme is working well, we have to make sure there are no new variants or big changes in our understanding of the disease, and we have got to work together to deliver the results of the current lockdown and get the disease under control.”
Will the restrictions be tightened?
Earlier this week Matt Hancock addressed the speculation about further restrictions in a press conference, including stopping the bubbling of single households.
He said the government would not ‘rule out’ taking ‘further action’ if they had to but urged everybody to ‘act like they have the virus’.
What is the situation across the world?
The World Health Organisation held a press conference at the start of the week, giving an update on the situation globally.
Here’s what the general director Dr Tedros said:
Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives. pic.twitter.com/PUN79POzAw
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 4, 2021
When will I be vaccinated?
There are currently two vaccines approved for use in the UK which will be rolled out through the NHS to the following groups on the priority list:
- People living in a care home for older adults
- Frontline health workers
- Frontline social care workers
The vaccines will then be offered in age order to:
- People over 80
- People over 75
- People over 70
- Adults who are on the shielding list
- People over 65
- Adults under 65 with long term health conditions
- Those aged 50-64
— to www.echo-news.co.uk