Reopening schools and reuniting loved ones priorities in lockdown road map

Prime minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVI

Prime minister Boris Johnson will announce England's roadmap to the easing of lockdown on Monday – but what is he likely to say? - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The reopening of schools and reuniting loved ones are among the top priorities of the prime minister unveils his road map out of lockdown.

Boris Johnson will use a speech to Parliament today to detail the "cautious" approach for easing coronavirus restrictions across England, with will be measured against four tests. 

Easing will happen across the country at the same time, rather than regionally, the government to examine data before unlocking further. 

The government will also assess the success of the vaccine rollout out, evidence of vaccine efficacy, new variants and infection rates before proceeding to the next step.

With the tests being met, the Government said, allowing the first relaxation to take place on March 8 - when schools will return.

Socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person will also be permitted in a fortnight when the rules are relaxed to allow people to sit down for a drink or picnic.

A further easing of restrictions will take place on March 29 when the school Easter holidays begin - with larger groups allowed to gather in parks and gardens.

The "rule of six" will return along with new measures allowing two households totalling more than six people to meet - giving greater flexibility for families and friends.

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Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts are also set to reopen at the end of next month.

And organised adult and children's sport - including grassroots football - can return from March 29.

However, Number 10 insisted that the "stay at home" message would remain in place despite the relaxation of some restrictions.

Mr Johnson said: "Our priority has always been getting children back into school which we know is crucial for their education as well as their mental and physical wellbeing, and we will also be prioritising ways for people to reunite with loved ones safely.   

“Our decisions will be made on the latest data at every step, and we will be cautious about this approach so that we do not undo the progress we have achieved so far and the sacrifices each and every one of you has made to keep yourself and others safe.

“We have therefore set four key tests which must be met before we can move through each step of the plan.” 

Number 10 said the blueprint would seek to balance the health needs with the social and economic impacts of lockdown.

Some details of what we can expect to hear have already emerged over the weekend, such as care home visitors being allowed a visitor from March 8 and a pledge to offer all UK adults their first vaccine by the end of July.

Also,  outdoor activities are set to be opened earlier than indoor ones, due to the reduced risk of spreading coronavirus outside.

Readers across Norfolk and Waveney shared their desire to see friends and family, go to the gym or pool and experiences such as hair cuts and dining out.

What to look out for today

It’s the day we’ve been anticipating for weeks as the Prime Minister sets out his road map out of lockdown.

So what can we expect today?

Boris Johnson will chair a virtual meeting of the Cabinet in the morning to discuss the plan, and then unveil the details to Parliament at 3.30pm.

He will then host a Downing Street press conference alongside key advisers at 7pm.

MPs will be given the chance to vote on the regulations enabling the road map in the coming weeks, Number 10 said.


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