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More exercise and some returns to work but no end to lockdown yet, PM announces

PUBLISHED: 19:15 10 May 2020 | UPDATED: 01:44 11 May 2020

Screen grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation about coronavirus (COVID-19) from 10 Downing Street in London. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 10, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: PA Video/Downing Street Pool/PA Wire

Screen grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation about coronavirus (COVID-19) from 10 Downing Street in London. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 10, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: PA Video/Downing Street Pool/PA Wire

The prime minister has said it would be “madness” to completely end lockdown now, as he unveiled a “slow and gradual” exit plan for Britain.

Screen grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation about coronavirus (COVID-19) from 10 Downing Street in London. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 10, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: PA Video/Downing Street Pool/PA WireScreen grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation about coronavirus (COVID-19) from 10 Downing Street in London. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 10, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: PA Video/Downing Street Pool/PA Wire

In a television address to nation this evening, Boris Johnson revealed the first wave of changes to lockdown measures, which include allowing people to spend more time outdoors to exercise, but still observing social distancing measures.

From Wednesday, people will be encouraged to take in a greater amount of exercise and will be allowed to play sports with members of their own households.

There will also be opportunities for some people to return to the workplace, but those who are able to work remotely from home remain required to do so. Those that will be able to return to work include construction and manufacturing workers.

There was no mention in his speech, however, of when social distancing may be eased or end or the so-called ‘social pods’ plan, which it had been speculated would allow people to mix in small social groups.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London. Photo credit should read: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA WirePrime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London. Photo credit should read: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

Unveiling a new credo of ‘Stay Alert to Control the Virus and Save Lives’, the PM set out a ‘conditional plan’ for the next phase of the fight against Covid-19.

Within this, he indicated that a ‘second phase’ could see primary school children returning to class by June 1 at the earliest - after half term.

This would see schoolchildren returning in phases, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

He said it was also hoped that secondary school pupils facing exams next year would at least get some time with their teachers before the summer holidays.

Scott Lyons, district secretary of the NEU for Norfolk, has warned schools could turn into 'Covid swamps'  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYScott Lyons, district secretary of the NEU for Norfolk, has warned schools could turn into 'Covid swamps' Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Stage two would also see a phased reopening of shops, while July could see parts of the hospitality industry brought back into action and other public places reopned.

However, the prime minister added that all of these changes would be entirely dependent on the progress the country has made in its fight against the virus.

Mr Johnson said; “It depends on all of us - the entire country - to follow the advice, to observe the social distancing and keep that R down.

“It is thanks to your effort and sacrifice in stopping the spread of this disease that the death rate is coming down and hospital admissions are coming down.

Handout image issued by Downing Street of Boris Johnson's new Handout image issued by Downing Street of Boris Johnson's new "stay alert" slogan to tackle coronavirus. Photo: Downing Street/PA Wire

“Thanks to you, we have protected the NHS and saved thousands of life. It would be madness now to throw away that achievement by allowing a second spike.

“This is not the time simply to end the lockdown this week.”

He added: “From this Wednesday we want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise.

“You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household.

Nova Fairbank, Head of policy,governance and public affairs and company secretary, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce. Pic: submitted

& Company SecretaryNova Fairbank, Head of policy,governance and public affairs and company secretary, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce. Pic: submitted & Company Secretary

“You must obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase fines for the small minority who break them.

“From tomorrow (Monday) anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction and manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to work.

“And we want it to be safe for you to get to work, so you should avoid public transport if at all possible because we must and we will maintain social distancing, and capacity will therefore be limited.

“So work from home if you can, but you should go to work if you can’t work from home.”

The PM also added that the government would be closely monitoring regional trends which could see certain regions placed under tighter restrictions than others.

Mr Johnson will also speak to the Commons tomorrow and front up the daily briefing and Q&A on Monday evening.


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