AFTER almost a year of lockdown restrictions, most people are wondering when the measures might be lifted.
While the government remains vague over when the rules could be loosened, some things can be confirmed.
The country is counting down to the government’s review, starting on February 15, when the current measures in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will be assessed.
The Cabinet Office issued a press notice yesterday morning stating the UK vaccination programme planned to reach all nine priority groups by May. This includes all adults aged 50 and above.
On February 22, the government is set to lay out a “road map”, showing how current measures could change over time.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson threw plans for lifting the lockdown into confusion on Monday, suggesting he will abandon the expected return to a system of local tiers. Ministers had said the government was likely to go back to the model of varying restrictions introduced last year, which depended on the level of the Covid-19 threat in each area.
But the PM said there were now only “a few discrepancies, a few differences” from area to area, since the more virulent variant of coronavirus took hold.
He said the road map measures would start with the reopening of schools on March 8 – if the data allows this. The success and scale of the UK’s mass vaccination will play a large part in deciding what the future holds.
“Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a government statement issued earlier this week.
He revealed that almost one in five adults in the UK, more than ten million people, have now received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Mr Hancock said: “This terrific achievement is testament to the monumental effort of NHS workers, volunteers and the Armed Forces who have been working tirelessly in every corner of the UK to deliver the largest vaccination programme in our history.
“Every jab makes us all a bit safer – I want to thank everyone for playing their part.”
New data from the Sussex Health and Care Partnership shows that in the county, up to January 31, 22.7 per cent of people aged 70 to 74, 78 per cent of 75 to 79-year-olds have been given the jab and 86 per cent of people aged 80 and above have had their first jab.
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty explained how vaccines would offer protection. “The first of which is they will protect you, the person who is being vaccinated, and they will protect to a very good degree based on the data we have so far,” he said.
“Secondly, it will mean that people are able to know that many of the people they interact with have also been vaccinated and that will also reduce the risk. Although, we don’t yet know with confidence quite how much these vaccines reduce the risk of transmission.
“The third way they reduce the risk is to reduce the amount of the virus that is circulating in the whole population. And that, we are nowhere near being close to.
“We need… to use the vaccine plus the social distancing that everyone is doing to pull the rates of the virus right down.”
— to www.theargus.co.uk