UK to present England lockdown exit plan

UK to present England lockdown exit plan

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to present a plan mapping England's exit from the current coronavirus lockdown.

Johnson has said he wants to leave lockdown in a way that is "cautious but irreversible".

England has spent two months in lockdown but some measures are being eased already.

Care home residents will be able to have contact with one regular visitor as of March 8, the Health Department announced on Saturday.

That day, all schools are also expected to reopen.

At the same time, two people from different households are to be able to meet outside for activities such as sports or a picnic, broadcaster BBC reported.

From March 29, two households or groups of up to six people may meet outside.

Later on, shops, restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and hotels would reopen.

Sources said that March 8 and March 29 are currently the only confirmed dates for the easing of restrictions, as the government wants to monitor statistics before making further decisions.

Downing Street said on Sunday that four conditions need to be met to proceed to the next stages.

These are successful continuation of the vaccination program, evidence of reduced hospitalisations and deaths among those vaccinated, declining infection rates and no spread of new variants.

Johnson is to officially unveil the plans to lawmakers on Monday afternoon before holding a press conference with journalists in the evening.

England's third lockdown began on January 5, shutting down public life.

Johnson's easing would only apply to England, however, as the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland determine health regulations independently.

To stem the spread of infections, the UK government has rolled out COVID-19 vaccinations at high speed.

More than 17 million people have received a first dose of the jab so far.