London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday set up a phased plan to end England’s COVID-19 lockdown, offering a “cautious” approach to halt the withdrawal of wholesale sanctions that would curb the economy.
Johnson said under pressure to allow more freedom to millions trapped at home and offering hope for closed businesses, the first phase would prioritize schools returning on March 8, when only minimal outside socialization would be allowed .
The so-called roadmap then went through four phases, in the middle of five weeks, and the final phase, when most restrictions would be lifted, would not begin until June 21 at the earliest.
“The danger remains considerable”, Johnson told parliament, adding that the roadmap was cautious but irreversible.
“We are able to take these steps because of the resolution of the UK public and the extraordinary success of our NHS (National Health Service) in vaccinating over 17.5 million people in the UK.”
With nearly 130,000 woes, Britain has suffered the world’s fifth-largest official death from the epidemic and its $ 3 trillion economy has seen its biggest crash in more than 300 years.
But Johnson said a rapid decline in infections, along with a rapid start to the vaccine roll-out, could now ease the vigil of England’s tough national lockdown, which began on 5 January.
As the plan unfolds, lawmakers will have a chance to vote in specific phases. Authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which are responsible for their own public health, will also ease restrictions in the coming months.