What could happen over the next few months?
With the number of vaccinated people in the UK increasing, the R rate falling nationwide, and Covid cases in London falling over 90% from the January peak, we’ve finally been granted a glimmer of hope of how our exit from England’s latest lockdown will happen. Unveiling his “cautious” lockdown ‘roadmap’ to the House of Commons this afternoon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed that lockdown restrictions will begin to ease from 8 March 2021, and that four tests will be used to guide the unravelling of restrictions.
The four tests are as follows:
- The continuing rollout of the vaccines.
- Evidence that vaccinations are helping to drive down hospitalisations and death rates.
- Infection rates remaining low and avoiding pressure on the NHS.
- The appearance of new Covid variants, and the risks they pose.
The four-step system will replace last year’s tiers, as the nation takes a collective move forward instead. Steps will unfold “at least five weeks” apart, in order to see the impact that loosening restrictions will have upon the infection rates. The government has stated the roadmap will be guided by data in order to move from one step to the next. Outdoor activities (which evidence suggests is safer) will return before indoor ones, with outdoor socialising in line as the first major step in the easing. Here’s how the easing could unfold, step by step/month-by-month.