COVID-19: Roadmap on track – PM approves further easing of lockdown restrictions

Boris Johnson has confirmed England will progress to the next stage of lockdown lifting as he said the roadmap was on track.

The government also announced it will press ahead with developing controversial coronavirus passports, pointing out certification was “likely to become a feature of our lives until the threat from the pandemic recedes”.

While the prime minister said he was hopeful over the lifting of the ban on foreign holidays from 17 May, the government said it was still too soon to say, highlighting “the state of the pandemic abroad, and the progress of vaccination programmes in other countries”, and advised people not to book summer breaks abroad “until the picture is clearer”.

PM announces plans for lockdown roadmap easing – follow live coronavirus updates

A further easing of COVID-19 restrictions comes after all four official tests – a successful vaccine deployment programme, coronavirus hospitalisation and death rates under control, infections not putting pressure on the NHS, and the risk assessment not changed by variants – were met.

Under the next step in the roadmap, shops, hairdressers and pub beer gardens will reopen from 12 April.

Speaking at a Downing Street news briefing, Mr Johnson said: “We see nothing in our present data that makes us think that we’ll have to deviate from the roadmap.”

He added: “On Monday 12th, I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips.”

But he also warned over the continuing threat posed by the virus and said: “We can’t be complacent. We can see the waves of sickness affecting other countries and we have seen how this story goes.

“We still don’t know how strong the vaccine shield will be when cases begin to rise, as I’m afraid that they will, and that’s why we are saying please get your vaccine – or your second dose – when your turn comes.”

From 12 April under step two:

• Non-essential shops, including hairdressers and nail salons, will reopen

• Hospitality venues, such as pubs and restaurants, will be able to open for outdoor service, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcohol, and no curfew

• Overnight stays away from home in England will be permitted and self-contained accommodation can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household or support bubble

• Gyms, libraries and community centres will also reopen

• The majority of outdoor settings and attractions can reopen, including outdoor hospitality, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances

• Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to six people or two households, and you must not socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with or have not formed a support bubble with

• All children will be able to attend any indoor children’s activity, including sport, regardless of circumstance

• Funerals can continue with up to 30 attendees. Weddings, outdoor receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open)

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