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Is lockdown on its way out?

Today, Boris Johnson released his ‘roadmap’ for our way out of lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions. He says this is due to an 85% reduction in hospitalisations after the fourth week of vaccinations, studies show. It is also known that Scotland and NI are planning their own roadmap, deciding not to follow the PM’s plan.

He says for everything to go to plan, England must reach four key targets, and the success of this roadmap is dependent on them.
Johnson explained the four stages as such:
1. The success of the mass vaccination programme

2. The reduction of hospital admissions and deaths 3. The dropping of infections
4. That there are no new concerning variants

So, what is this plan?

Johnson plans to open schools again on the 8th March, and two people will be allowed to meet for a ‘chat’ but only outdoors. On this day, residents in care homes will also be allowed to have a regular visitor.
Moving to the 29th March, six people or two households will be able to meet outdoors as well as the ‘opening’ on outdoor sports.

12th April, we will hopefully see non-essential shops opening again, also gyms and outdoor pubs/beer gardens (yey!).
From the 17th May, we can hope to see the end of rule of six’ and the start of a ‘rule of 30’ whereby a maximum gathering of 30 can meet indoors.

He says that he is planning to end all measures by the 21st of June which, if true, means that this summer may be worth enjoying.

Can we trust this?
It cannot go unnoticed that the PM used the phrase “at the earliest” more than a few times. We can also not ignore our past “roadmap” out of lockdown in the form of the tier system did not exactly go to plan. The PM said that it is crucial that “this roadmap should be cautious” which implies that it isn’t set in stone, “but also irreversible” suggesting that we are going to stick to the general plan, no matter how we may change it as we go.
He also differed from the tier system and suggested future changes in the plan by saying that the roadmap is based on “data not dates”, so I doubt that we can bet, with any rigour, that we are going to see each of these re-openings on the exact dates as he said. Yet I would say the ‘irreversible’ nature of the scheme is a good sign.
This plan is also supporting by the effectiveness of the vaccination program, which seems to be doing well, and so one would hope that these aren’t the ‘hopes’ of the PM but are things that he can foresee happening for us.

Fingers crossed!

I hope for all of our sakes that at least this summer will be way better than the last. With any luck, may we all be at the gym, beer gardening, clubbing and seeing our friends and family before too long!

Written by Caitlin Curtis