A “roadmap out of lockdown” for England is being reported by some of the country’s national news publishers.
It shows a gradual approach in which traders may be able to reopen by Easter, pubs and restaurants wait until early May and the return of the “rule of six”. The plan reportedly also aims to see England back to “broadly normal” by July, with plans to bring hotel holidays back in April.
Boris Johnson and his cabinet are this week finalising plans to gradually bring the country out of lockdown, according to the reports in MailOnline, The Telegraph and The Mirror. It is claimed the relaxation of the rules could be implemented in four-weekly intervals.
The final stage would see life return to a form of normality, potentially still with measures such as face masks and social distancing, by July, 16 months after the first lockdown began. Boris Johnson is set to present his plans next Monday, February 22.
Meanwhile, in Wales, the next review of coronavirus restrictions is due on Friday, February 19. First Minister Mark Drakeford has warned that any changes will be “very modest indeed”. An updated roadmap out of lockdown for Wales is also due to be published on Friday.
Children aged between three and seven are set to return to Welsh primary schools on February 22 though some councils have said that they will not be asking children to attend school on this date due to local coronavirus infection rates.
Possible changes to lockdown that could be announced on Friday include meeting people outdoors, allowing golf, tennis, fishing and possibly gyms to continue, a possible return of the five-mile rule and increasing household bubbles.
But office staff are expected to be told to keep working from home.
England’s reported roadmap out of lockdown:
Easter (early April): Reopening of holiday lets and larger hotels (but with dining rooms still closed). Sports such as golf and tennis could resume.
May: Pubs, bars and restaurants reopen, with a maximum of two households allowed to sit together indoors and the rule of six applying outside.
June: Rules for pubs and restaurants relaxed with the rule of six extended indoors.
July: Hospitality and domestic holiday industries could be allowed to return to normal – with social distancing.
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According to MailOnline, ministers will not make a final decision on the roadmap timetable until this weekend when they are presented with the latest data on the spread of the virus and Boris Johnson looks set to take a cautious approach.
NHS in England likely to stay ‘at full stretch’ for weeks
The NHS is likely to remain “at full stretch” for at least another six weeks, a leading health official said as he warned the Prime Minister against easing lockdown too quickly.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts in England, has written to Boris Johnson calling for a focus on “data, not just dates” when it comes to the Government’s approach to the route out of lockdown.
The Prime Minister will scrutinise data this week on coronavirus case numbers, hospital admissions, deaths and the impact of the vaccine rollout as he prepares his plan to reduce restrictions.
Mr Johnson has said he will aim to give target dates for restrictions being eased when he sets out his plan next Monday, but “won’t hesitate” to delay plans if infection rates make it necessary.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Hopson said case numbers were “still far too high” and the health service remained “at full stretch”, something he said trust leaders believed would continue for at least another six to eight weeks.
He said: “The evidence on Covid-19 cases, NHS capacity, progress with vaccinations and readiness to combat Covid-19 variants all show that it is much too early to start lifting restrictions.”
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Every adult in the UK could receive both jabs by August, says head of Covid vaccine taskforce
Every adult in the UK could receive both their first and second jab against the virus, claims the head of the UK’s taskforce.
Clive Dix, who runs the taskforce which identifies and purchases vaccines for the UK Government, told Sky News he is sure there would not be any supply problems.
He said: “We are confident within the vaccine taskforce now that the supply we’re going to get will take to us to a position where we can vaccinate as many people as the UK wants to vaccinate.”
He added: “We’re probably talking August time or September time all done, maybe sooner if we need to.”
Mr Dix explained that there is potential for some manufacturing issues, but as the UK has purchased more than one type of vaccine, this gives room for delivery to continue uninterrupted.
More areas will see door-to-door testing to help control South Africa variant spread
Four new areas will get door-to-door coronavirus surge testing to help control and suppress the spread of a Covid-19 variant.
More areas in Greater Manchester along with postcodes in Norfolk, Southampton and Surrey will get surge testing in addition to existing extensive testing, and in combination with following the current lockdown rules, reports The Mirror.
Additional measures will target areas within Norfolk (IP22 postcode), Southampton (SO15) and Woking, Surrey (GU22) where the Covid-19 variant first identified in South Africa has been found.
Following the start of surge testing in Manchester last week, testing in Manchester will be expanded to targeted areas within the M40 and M9 postcode districts.
People living within these targeted areas are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test this week, whether they are showing symptoms or not.
Captain Tom wanted to come home to steak and chips after Covid treatment
Captain Sir Tom Moore wanted to come home to steak and chips after he was admitted to hospital with coronavirus, his daughter has revealed.
Hannah Ingram-Moore has spoken about her father’s days in hospital, their final family holiday to the Caribbean and how his heart would have been “broken” if he had known about trolling the family received.
She told BBC Breakfast: “I said to him in the last few days, ‘so, what do you want to eat when you come home?, and we decided it was steak and chips. He was really excited about coming out for steak and chips and getting his frame back outside and his walker. The last real conversation was positive and about carrying on, and that’s a lovely place to be.”
Ms Ingram-Moore said that when the Second World War veteran went into hospital the family “really all believed he’d come back out”.
“We thought the oxygen would help, that he would be robust enough, (but) the truth is he just wasn’t. He was old and he just couldn’t fight it,” she added.
Sir Tom captured the hearts of the nation with his fundraising efforts during the first lockdown when he walked 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden before his 100th birthday, raising more than £32 million for the NHS.
He died aged 100 at Bedford Hospital on February 2 after testing positive for Covid-19.
Before he died the centenarian got to tick a holiday in the Caribbean off his bucket list when the family travelled to Barbados just before Christmas.
“It was just amazing,” Ms Ingram-Moore said.
“He sat in 29 degrees outside, he read two novels, he read the newspapers every day, and we sat and we talked as a family, we went to restaurants (because we could there) and he ate fish on the beach and what a wonderful thing to do.
“I think we were all so pleased we managed to give him that.”
She also discussed the trolling the family received following Sir Tom’s fundraising efforts and said: “I couldn’t tell him.
“I think it would have broken his heart, honestly, if we’d said to him people are hating us.
“Because how do you rationalise to a 100-year-old man that something so incredibly good can attract such horror, so we contained it within the four of us and we said we wouldn’t play to… that vile minority, we wouldn’t play to them, we’re not, because we are talking to the massive majority of people who we connect with.”