LIVE: Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown - find out more

  Posted: 22.02.21 at 15:19 by LAYTH YOUSIF @HitchinNubNews

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The Covid pandemic has been with us for nearly a year including three lockdowns - but are we set to emerge from the biggest peacetime challenge in more than a century?

People up and down the country including Hitchin and north Herts are looking forward to learning how Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ease lockdown restrictions today, Monday.

Mr Johnson is expected to speak in the House of Commons at 330pm before calling a press conference at 7pm this evening.

Stay tuned to our Hitchin Nub News LIVE BLOG on the unfolding events.


What we know so far:

Here's what we're expecting for the first stage of his four-part plan:

From March 8 - All schools will open with outdoor after-school sports and activities allowed. Recreation in a public space - such as a park - will be allowed between two people, meaning they would be allowed to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic

From March 29 - Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed. It is understood this will include gatherings in private gardens. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen and organised adult and children's sport, such as grassroots football, will also return


327pm Next stage expected to kick in from 12 April as lockdown ended in five-week intervals potentially stretching into June

All dates dependent on four tests being met: vaccination targets, vaccine reducing hospitalisation and deaths, pressure on NHS and variants


332pm The PM's speech, which will affect all our lives, is only minutes away


336pm The PM starts to speak in the House

Boris Johnson starts by saying his roadmap will guide the government “cautiously but irreversibly” to lifting the lockdown.

He says the vaccines seem to be effective against the dominant strains of the virus.

There is no credible route to a zero Covid future, he admits, adding it's inevitable lifting restrictions will lead to more hospital cases and more deaths

England set to remove all legal limits on people's social contact by 21 June, the prime minister announces

He says the government will move forward in four steps.

The PM says there will be at least five weeks between each step - four weeks to acquire exact data on the impact, and seven further days to give people notice of what will happen next.

Johnson explains that Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, has said moving faster would increase chances of the government changing tack leading to the reimposition of restrictions. “I won’t take that risk,” he says.


Johnson says step two will start no earlier than 12 April.

Non-essential retail will open. People will be able to get a hair cut.

Pubs and restaurants will begin to open, for outdoors service. There will be no curfew, and no requirement for people to order a substantial meal.

Zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas will open, as will public libraries and community centres.

Step three is set to occur 'no earlier than' 17 May the PM says

"Most restrictions outdoors will be lifted, subject to a limit of 30 people.

"This is the point where you will be able to see your friends and family indoors subject to the meeting of two households."

"We will also reopen pubs and restaurants indoors," he says, along with cinemas, theatres, sports stadiums and some other venues."


Step four in the easing of restrictions

Step four will happen no earlier than 21 June, when all legal limits on social contact including weddings will be removed

"We will reopen everything up to and including nightclubs", says Johnson.

He adds that he wants to ease restrictions on large events and performances "potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection".

We will update this page regularly as and when we have the latest developments from Westminster.

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People up and down the country including Hitchin and north Herts are patiently waiting to hear Prime Minister Boris Johnson explain how lockdown wi...