Boris Johnson wants to end the corona measures with a step-by-step plan. Because the vaccination program is successful.
LONDON taz | With a careful step-by-step plan, England is going the way out of lockdown. “Careful but irreversible” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson his way to the House of Commons on Monday afternoon. If all goes well, all corona restrictions can end on June 21st. The first thing to do is to reopen all schools on March 8th.
Vaccination Minister Nadhim Zahawi had already confirmed important points on Monday morning. In order for the exit to be successful, the following hurdles must be overcome before the start of each new stage: First, the corona vaccination program must continue to run successfully. To date, around 17.5 million people, one third of the UK adult population, have been vaccinated with at least the first dose. The UK plans to have vaccinated all over 50s by April and all adults by the end of July. On average, 85 percent of those entitled to receive the syringes. According to Zahawi, this is one of the highest vaccinations in the world. According to an Ipsos study, 89 percent of all Britons are ready to be vaccinated.
Second, there needs to be sufficient evidence that vaccinations sufficiently reduce the need for hospitalization and the number of deaths. The number of those who died of Covid-19 and the infection rates have fallen sharply due to the vaccination program in Great Britain, it is said. According to data released Monday by the University of Edinburgh, vaccinations, whether from Biontech or AstraZeneca, reduce hospital admissions by 94 percent as a result of Covid-19.
The third condition for progress in the phased plan is that infection rates do not lead to an increase in hospital stays, which overloads the health system. Fourth, the risk assessment should not fundamentally change due to new virus mutations.
As a first step, all ten million English students will now be able to return to schools in two weeks and be able to do outdoor school sports on top of that. This is crucial for education, but also for their mental and physical health, explained Boris Johnson. In addition, two people could meet, but only outdoors.
Johnson further stated that the next stage would begin on March 29 at the earliest, when two families from two households or no more than six people from different households could meet in the open air. At the same time, outdoor sports could be allowed again for everyone. All other steps such as the reopening of sports facilities, hairdressing salons, pubs and restaurants as well as all other business and economic sectors will follow afterwards, from May at the earliest, with the end of the last restrictions on June 21 – when there are no more steps backwards in the fight against the pandemic.
Measures initially only apply to England
Although action is much slower compared to previous lockdown exits in the UK, with four to five weeks between each stage, Johnson’s administration has drawn criticism from education unions. The y demand that the return to schools should take place even more slowly. Zahawi said that 15 million rapid tests had been distributed in English schools to test students continuously. Some schools see testing alone as an overwhelming challenge.
Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer warned in parliament to be careful: the government had already decreed several relaxations and had to take them back again. But he also called the success of the vaccination program “light at the end of the tunnel” and advocated starting school for everyone on March 8th.
The measures only apply to England, but it is not expected that other parts of the country will go fundamentally different ways. 10 Downing Street said that each part of the UK was working on its own plan, “but we are working closely”.