BORIS Johnson has tonight promised Brits that we’re on track to unlock the country fully by June 21.
In a speech to the nation this evening, the Prime Minister said he believes the UK’s lockdown – one of the toughest in the world – combined with the dazzling success of the jab’s roll-out will get us out of the crisis.
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Boris Johnson has tonight confirmed he’s sticking with his plan of unlocking the UK ‘like glue’Credit: PA
It comes a week before non-essential shops reopen, along with hairdressers and pub gardensCredit: LNP
Under the current roadmap, June 21 is the day life could return almost to normal – although Mr Johnson suggested twice-weekly testing, as well as holiday quarantines and Covid passports, are likely to remain in place for some time to come.
It comes as…
The PM, who has vowed to stick with his “cautious but irreversible” road out of the shutdown, said: “We set out our roadmap and we’re sticking with it.
“And I want to stress that we see nothing in the present data that makes us think that we will have to deviate from that road map.
“But it is by being cautious, by monitoring the data at every stage and by following the rules – remembering hand, face, space, fresh air – that we hope together to make this road map to freedom irreversible.”
He added of his roadmap: “We’re sticking to it like glue.
“We’re going to step two from April 12. And things seem set for May 17.”
Elsewhere, he thanked Brits for sticking with lockdown for so long.
“I know that over the weekend, millions will have been able to see loved ones for the first time in months,” he said.
“Thanks to you all for your patience.
Another 26 people have died in the UK of Covid – a plunge of almost 90 per cent on March 5
“It’s really clear now this is paying off and our collective efforts have given us time and space to vaccinate more than 31million people.”
And he said further unlocking will take place next Monday, April 12, when pub gardens will reopen.
Mr Johnson joked: “On Monday the 12th, I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips.”
Elsewhere next week, non-essential shops and hairdressers will be able to open their doors.
The rules will be relaxed to allow 30 people to attend funeral services while weddings and wakes will be allowed to have 15 people.
Overnight stays away from home with your household will also be back on the cards.
Driving tests will also be able to start up again for people keen to get their licence.
Elsewhere, the number of care home visitors will be increased to two per resident.
Libraries and community centres will also be able to open back up.
However, would-be world travellers are still keeping their fingers crossed for holidays abroad after the PM refused to commit to breaks in May.
What will reopen on April 12?
Mr Johnson said that non-essential retailers can reopen from this date, as long as strict conditions are met.
This is understood to include:
- Clothing shops
- Homeware shops
- Toy shops
- Vehicle showrooms (other than for rental)
- Betting shops
- Tobacco and vape shops
- Electronic goods shops
- Mobile phone shops
- Auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment)
- Market stalls selling non-essential goods
Other businesses that are expected to reopen as part of the plans include:
- Pubs (outdoor service only)
- Restaurants (outdoor service only)
- Gyms (indoor exercising – but no classes)
- Beauty salons
- Theme parks
- Drive-in cinemas
- Drive-in performances
- Community centres
Today, another 26 deaths were recorded – almost 90 per cent lower than on March 5.
And in even better news, Britain now has one of the lowest Covid death rates in Europe – while the number of people dying of all causes is at its lowest level since 2014, in spite of the pandemic.
Covid deaths here may be dropping so sharply because fewer over-70s are falling ill in the first place.
In 52 areas of England, there have been no new cases of Covid in that age group for more than a week.
But Mr Johnson warned that nothing is yet certain.
“We can’t be complacent,” he said.
“We can see waves of sickness afflicting other countries, and we’ve seen how this story goes.
“We still don’t know how strong the vaccination shield will be when cases begin to rise, as I’m afraid they will.”
And he said that, as summer arrives, there will be “at least some semblance of normality” – although “we’re still some way off”.
“Things will feel really very different for the first time in a long time, but we have to be cautious to get there,” he said.