LOCKDOWN regulations will finally be eased in March — but the return to normal life will not come with a “Big Bang”, Dominic Raab said yesterday.
In a boost to pandemic-weary Brits, the Foreign Secretary said rules can be loosened in early spring if we hit vaccination targets.
But he warned lockdown would be “phased out”, involving a return to a strict tier system.
Boris Johnson has said reopening schools is his number-one priority when the time comes.
And Mr Raab said the vaccination programme is the key to relaxing restrictions.
He said: “The aim is by the middle of February, to have 88 per cent of those most at risk of dying with their first jab and — by the early spring — to have 99 per cent. That’s the milestones.
“When we get to a situation in the early spring, perhaps March, if we succeed in hitting those targets — and we’ve made good progress so far — we can start to think about the phased transition out of national lockdown.”
He added: “It’s fair to say it won’t be a Big Bang.”
Instead the country is set to head “back through the tiered approach” adopted by the Prime Minister before the current lockdown, he said.
The positive news should go some way to staving off Mr Johnson’s restless backbenchers, some of whom are demanding a roadmap out of lockdown be published this week.
Chairman of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, Mark Harper, said businesses and families desperately need to know when the most draconian measures might be lifted.
He said: “Businesses need a plan in order to survive. There cannot be any more excuses and there’s no need to wait until Easter.
“We need a clear roadmap to all our freedoms, economy and health prospects being fully restored.”
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