Lockdown

dpa/GNA – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday laid out a cautious timetable for easing coronavirus restrictions over the coming months, pledging to try and avoid the u-turns that have plagued the country’s strategy so far.

The planned exit from lockdown should be “cautious but irreversible,” Johnson told journalists in London.

The British government is convinced that the current lockdown should be the last. Fearing the rapid spread of dangerous coronavirus variants, however, the plan foresees gradual relaxations of rules at greater intervals.

Johnson only sets the rules for England – in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the regional governments are responsible for regulating restrictions.

According to media reports, the first pupils in England are to be allowed to return to in-person schooling on March 8.

The following relaxations are expected to affect outdoor activities first, then retail, followed by restaurants and bars.

However, this also depends on scientific evaluations of the extent to which the vaccination progress is already having an impact on the infection situation. More than 15 million residents of Britain have already received a first vaccine dose.

Johnson’s comments come as rules came into force requiring travellers entering from 33 high-risk countries with coronavirus variants to enter mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine at their own cost.

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