/Boris Johnson to set out lockdown easing plan on Sunday – 3 days after review

Boris Johnson to set out lockdown easing plan on Sunday – 3 days after review

Boris Johnson is set to outline a plan for easing the UK lockdown on Sunday – three days after a formal review.

The Prime Minister is expected to explain his “roadmap” for easing restrictions in an address to the nation.

But he is not expected to relax the lockdown immediately – as the timing of his speech makes clear.

Under current plans, he’ll give his address three days after the lockdown has to be reviewed by law on May 7.

That suggests Mr Johnson will extend the lockdown for another three weeks this Thursday, perhaps with some minor changes, until the end of May.

Only then, after the lockdown has been officially extended, will he begin to officially discuss how it will be lifted in future.

Downing Street officials are understood to have deliberately pencilled in Thursday and Sunday as two distinct events in the diary.

That means the lockdown review on Thursday should not be confused with the “roadmap” that is currently scheduled for Sunday.

The first is a legally required, short term review of the lockdown. The second is a long-term plan over many months for how Britain can adjust to a “new normal”.

The roadmap is expected to set out how primary schools could return as early as June 1 in a “phased” way
(Image: Getty Images/Cultura RF)

The roadmap is expected to set out how primary schools could return as early as June 1 in a “phased” way.

Year 6 is being discussed as the first year group to go back, followed by Years 10 and 12 in secondary school.

It would also contain guidance for businesses on how to slowly return to work.

Some staff would still be expected to work from home, while others have two-metre gap marked out on the floor in tape.

Other firms would be allowed to relax the two-metre rule, even halving it to one metre if workers are given screens and protective kit, a Cabinet minister indicated.

His plan will make clear that the UK is not returning to “business as usual”. Some restrictions will be eased, but others – like fines for breaches – will be made harsher than they are now.

While people are put back on public transport and in some workplaces, there will be strict social distancing to keep people two metres apart.

People are likely to be advised to cover their faces, and will be told to use an NHS phone app that alerts you if you’ve come into close contact with the virus.

The roadmap will begin once the ‘R’ number – the average number of people infected by each Covid-19 carrier – is low enough.

Currently R is about 0.7 because so many people are out of contact with each other. Every time you relax a lockdown rule, R rises again. Ministers say they won’t do anything that pushes the R number back above 1.

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Coronavirus government action explained

The UK must also pass five tests before easing lockdown:

But Cabinet minister Michael Gove warned: “Ultimately, unless and until we have a vaccine, then I suspect we’re going to have to live with some degree of constraint because of the nature of the virus.

“But we obviously want to, wherever possible, and consistent with our measures on public health, restore people’s lives to as close to normal as possible.”

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