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London . – Boris Johnson is ready to announce his long-awaited roadmap to get England out of lockdown, British government officials confirmed to CNN on Monday morning. The country has been in complete national lockdown since January 4 after new variants of the coronavirus were found within parts of England that triggered the spread of the virus and were thought to be more dangerous.
Johnson will tell the House of Commons on Monday afternoon that as of March 8, schools will finally reopen in England, as well as a very limited return to outdoor social interaction, which includes sitting on a bench in the park and have a coffee, which is currently not possible.
The prime minister will also announce that starting March 29, as schools go on Easter break, further restrictions on social interactions will be lifted, allowing groups of six to meet outdoors and allowing families to meet. entire socialize. Downing Street put a special emphasis on wanting to give something to the elderly and vulnerable, now vaccinated, who have been kept away from their families for almost a year.
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Downing Street stressed that these are planned measures and if the Covid-19 situation worsens in England, they could be rejected and the country would be kept in quarantine.
The news comes as vaccine rollout in the UK continues to lead the rest of Europe, while scientific research indicates that vaccines reduce the risk of hospitalization by up to 94%.
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Strathclyde and Public Health Scotland examined data from people who had received the first dose of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine. The data showed that four weeks after receiving the injection, the risk of being admitted to hospitals had been reduced by as much as 85% and 94% respectively, according to the British news agency PA Media.
As of Monday morning, the UK has given the first doses to 17.5 million people, while the rate at which it can vaccinate is increasing.
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Monday’s announcement by the prime minister will mark step one on a four-step path out of lockdown. Johnson will tell lawmakers later that his administration’s decisions “will be made with the latest data at every step, and we will be cautious with this approach so as not to undo the progress we have made thus far.”
Four factors to get out of confinement in England
The speed at which the country will emerge from lockdown will be compared to four key factors: how the vaccine is being deployed; how vaccines are affecting hospitalizations and deaths; that infection rates remain low; and that the new variants do not undermine the other three factors.
Johnson will say that his priority “has always been to get children back to school, which we know is crucial to their education, as well as to their mental and physical well-being, and we will also prioritize the ways in which people reconnect with their children. loved ones”.
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His cautious approach and his focus on schools and families rather than the economy may draw criticism from several of his conservative advocates who have been pushing for a quicker exit from lockdown since the summer. At the time, infection rates had dropped and government sources told CNN at the time that priorities had shifted from containing the spread to reopening the hotel industry. When the summer months ended, the infections returned and the virus mutated, requiring urgent action to stop the spread.