After spending much of its winter in a tight lockdown, the British prime minister Boris Johnson is all set to announce in the parliament a road map to ease lockdown measures. The roadmap falls under Johnson’s accelerated plan to cautiously reopen the economy of the United Kingdom. Now, restrictions will be step by step across the whole of England at the same time and the first step of the road map will begin on 8th of march which has been earmarked as the date when all pupils will be returning to classrooms. Now with this, it will become the first section of society to reopen. Indoor home care centers are also set to resume rules on socializing in a public space will be relaxed and right after the Easter holidays, the second part of the first reopening phase will get started. With more focus on outdoor gatherings, families will be given more flexibility to meet outside with numbers to be kept at six.
Now, this is what we know as of now and the second phase of the reopening process will begin mid-April, that will allow the reopening of some hospitality options in limited circumstances universities, and colleges could get the green light to reopen campuses as the middle of May approaches at the third phase of the road map would start at this point and pubs and restaurants are likely to open shuttered in and indoors with the curbs on the number of people. June onwards indoor social gatherings might also be allowed with further relaxation of social contact. June could see the opening up of much of the hit tourism sector. The authorities have ensured that the gradual reopening process will go hand in hand with the number of coronavirus cases and the simultaneous inoculation drive. More focus would be laid on reducing hospitalizations and deaths and the successful continuation of the vaccine deployment program. The NHS says that they will need to ensure that the assessment of risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of the virus.
At this point, we need to remember, the United Kingdom has kept pace with the inoculation drive and is now promising to vaccinate all adults by the end of July. The accelerated vaccine rollout will help protect the most vulnerable sooner and enable the easing of restrictions a rough timeline has been set. People aged over 50 and those with underlying health conditions will be offered a jab by the 15th of April and by 31st July all adults should have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine. What are the significant changes in this roadmap? Where there’s a level of frustration is Boris Johnson just a year ago was very quick not to disrupt life. Now he’s an incredibly cautious prime minister we’ve seen a step-change. He’s made it clear that after each a phased lockdown change that they’ll be around five weeks in between to make sure that the numbers haven’t skyrocketed and he’s emphasized this is all about data and not dates.
This is the tentative schedule but of course, if the data shows that there is a spike in cases then he will hold the next phase of the slow release of lockdown because they’ve made it clear this is the last time they want a lockdown in the UK. Because of it, it’s a very slow release and that has businesses very frustrated. Of course, the hospitality sector that has been on the sneeze for the last year is incredibly angry about how long it’s going to take before they can start welcoming people back indoors. But he’s made it very clear it’s a cautious, cautious approach with the main focus of getting those pupils back to school. So, that’s why that’s phase one but he’s not guaranteeing any other of those steps. It will all be based on data. There are lots of people who are frustrated that it isn’t going to be a reopening but that’s the way it is.
Also, the authorities have ensured that the gradual reopening process will go hand in hand with the number of coronavirus cases and the simultaneous inoculation drive. Well, the inoculation drive has been going a lot quicker than expected, and also the take-up has been better than expected so they have seen that around 80 percent of people in all the highest risk have agreed and taken up the vaccine offers. They didn’t expect such strong numbers which is a good sign. It means they’re a month ahead of schedule and that’s why they’re currently looking at the end of July offering it to all adults. It has been one of the bright spots of the UK coronavirus pandemic. There have been many other issues but the one thing that has been quite successful in that rollout. They’re also seen with the inoculation that it does halt the spread as well and so that was another factor that allows the phased rollout around two-thirds of people who have had their vaccine won’t spread coronavirus. So, that was another thing they’ve discovered as well.
Also, more focus is to now lay down reducing hospitalizations and deaths and the successful continuation of the vaccine deployment. It’s looking at the data and it’s looking at the rolled out and that is kind of the core crux of how this phased unlocking will be. It really will depend on that for this to be a success and if they do notice that sudden rises of spikes, they will close it down. The big concern Right now for the UK government is the variance and particularly the south African variant because it is less effective with the Oxford vaccine and the UK has bought many oxford vaccinations so, there was one case where they discovered a south African variant just yesterday and the whole area was locked down. They’re very nervous about those variants causing disruption and halting essentially the lockdown. Hence this roadmap is very important for them and if this plan properly as they hoped, then life may return to normal for England, hopefully.