BORIS Johnson tonight vowed the UK was on a “one way road to freedom” and said his roadmap would make sure the nation WON’T go back into lockdown.
The PM revealed his “cautious” plan for releasing all restrictions by June, as he vowed the vaccine rollout would create a “shield” around the entire population.
Read our UK lockdown live blog for the latest news and updates on Boris’ roadmap…
At a press conference tonight he insisted the country was on a one-way track – and he hoped Britain wouldn’t go back into lockdown again.
He said spring and summer would be “seasons of hope” and life would be better for everyone in the weeks and months to come.
Boris vowed: “There is light ahead, leading us to a spring and the summer, which I think will be seasons of hope, looking and feeling incomparably better for us all and from which we will not go back.”
He said he “very much hopes” that his plan today is “a roadmap that takes us to the end, of a one-way journey”.
“The intention is that it should be irreversible.
“We don’t want to go back into another lockdown. We want to deliver as much security and certainty as we can to the public, business and to everybody.”
The PM insisted that after months of on-off lockdowns, the nation must get closer to normal once again, saying: “We must accept that we cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that have separated families and loved ones for too long, threatened the livelihoods of millions, and kept pupils out of school.”
The PM told MPs earlier that his “cautious but irreversible” plan today to get the country back to normal after the “extraordinary” success of Britain’s speedy vaccine rollout.
It comes as the UK today recorded its lowest increase of Covid fatalities in ten weeks – 178 – with just 10,000 infections.
He hopes to get Britain booming and back to near normal by June, and give every adult a vaccine by the end of July.
But his own roadmap admitted that it would cause thousands more deaths as the country opens up once again.
And Chris Whitty said this evening that Britain would not “get rid” of Covid and it would cause problems for “at least the next few winters”.
He warned: “This is not the end.”
Everyone must stick to the rules as they are relaxed or cases will spike again, he begged.
All restrictions will be lifted at the same time across England – with no more tiers in sight – but each step will be assessed against four tests first.
He told MPs today: “Today the end really is in sight. A wretched year will soon give way to spring and summer that will be very different to today.”
And as long as the data allows and there are no more new variants which could wreck the plans, the PM aims to review and relax more rules every five weeks giving a week’s notice of the update.
It comes as Public Health England findings showed that one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces hospitalisations and deaths by at least 75 per cent – which will help him lift measures.
And he hinted that furlough would be extended further, saying that he would do whatever it takes to continue to provide support for people throughout the pandemic and “the rug will not be pulled out”.
But the PM also said there could be “no credible world to a zero Covid Britain” and insisted there would still be some form of the virus existing for months to come.
The lockdown roadmap includes:
- Schools to return from March 8 for all pupils, and two people from different households can meet outside
- But kids will have to wear masks in classrooms at first
- From March 29 the rule of six returns outdoors and outdoor sport will resume with golf and tennis courts back open
- April 12 will see shops reopen for customers again, with hairdressers and barbers back – along with nail salons
- Brits will be able to go on a staycation with their family as the stay local rules will be lifted from the end of April
- From May, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to have indoor service again – with the rule of six or two households in place
- Gyms will then be allowed to reopen and other indoor activities like cinemas and bingo halls
- From May two households will finally be able to mix indoors – and stay overnight
- After June it’s hoped that all other restrictions on where people can go are hoped to be lifted
- Nightclubs and theatres can finally reopen – likely with rapid testing schemes
MPs will get a vote on the new rules – before March 29 – where grumpy MPs are likely to urge him to go even further.
The PM had faced pressure to act even faster from his backbenchers, who want all rules to be ditched by the end of April, but he’s said it won’t be safe to do so.
The plan will come as part of three stages – which can’t be pulled forward. Those are the dates which will be the earliest ones possible.
If one date is dragged back, they will all be dragged back.
Shielding Brits have been told to stay home as much as they can until the end of March.