Boris Johnson sets target for UK’s full economic reopening in June
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a plan to relax his country’s coronavirus restrictions in the months ahead on Monday as the U.K. continues its public vaccination program.
Bloomberg News reported that Johnson presented a multiphase plan to Parliament on Monday that calls for schools to reopen for in-person learning on March 8, with a slight reduction on restrictions governing outdoor gatherings on March 29.
Shops and other businesses deemed nonessential can open up April 12 at the earliest, while indoor venues such as movie theaters and hospitality businesses including hotels will be allowed to reopen five weeks later.
According to the plan, each phase of reopening is dependent on a number of factors being met, including the vaccine being shown to effectively reduce hospitalizations and deaths among vaccinated residents.
Any surge in hospitalizations or the discovery of a new variant with reason to cause alarm would delay the phases of reopening, according to Bloomberg News.
Johnson’s plan comes as the U.K.’s vaccination program is speeding along; the country aims to have all adults vaccinated by the end of July. Roughly a third of British adults have been vaccinated already.
The U.K. has seen rates of new COVID-19 infections plummet sharply since December and January, when a new variant of the disease began spreading through the country causing a massive wave of new cases.
“It’s absolutely true that [the U.K. COVID variant] spreads faster, but now what you’re seeing thanks to the efforts of the British people … you’re going to start seeing the rates start falling down more sharply,” Johnson said earlier this month.
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