The foreign secretary said officials hope to be able to start lifting restrictions in two months’ time (Picture: AFP)
The Government ‘hopes to make decisions’ on gradually lifting England’s national lockdown restrictions by early spring, the foreign secretary has said.
Dominic Raab said he hoped some restrictions can be relaxed by March so the country can ‘get back to normal’, adding that the Government will publish its exit plan in due course.
When the nation was plunged into its third lockdown early this month, the prime minister said restrictions would continue until mid-February – but stopped short of confirming a clear date.
The foreign secretary told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘Of course, what we want to do is get out of this national lockdown as soon as possible.
‘The roadmap that I’ve described means that by early spring, hopefully by March, we’ll be in a position to make those decisions.
‘I think it’s right to say we won’t do it all in one big bang – as we phase out of the national lockdown I think we’ll end up phasing through the tiered approach.
‘We want to make sure that we can do it in a safe and responsible way, we’ve got to, at this point in time, really focus on protecting the NHS and rolling out the vaccine.
‘If we do those two things we get into a much better place by early spring.’
The new variants and the significant pressure on the NHS are currently putting that option ‘at risk’, added Mr Raab, as he urged people to follow the rules.
In further updates, he confirmed that every adult in the UK should have been offered their first Covid-19 jab by September.
He said: ‘Our target is by September to have offered all the adult population a first dose. If we can do it faster than that, great, but that’s the roadmap.’
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