British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to detail on Monday (22) how the first steps in the gradual exit from the imposed lockdown in England will be to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The guidelines also serve as a basis for the other countries that make up the UK.
From March 8, schools are expected to reopen in the country, and by the end of next month reunions with friends and family will be allowed by authorities, following a drop in Covid-19 cases, aided by one of the fastest vaccination campaigns in the world.
“Today I will be scripting to get us out of lockdown with caution,” Boris wrote in a Twitter post. “Our priority has always been to get children back to school, which we know is crucial for their education and well-being. We will also prioritize the means that allow people to meet their loved ones in complete safety.
With more than 120,000 deaths from Covid-19, the UK is the fifth country with the highest number of deaths in the world, behind the US, Brazil, Mexico and India. But the rapid pace of vaccinations in the country coupled with a rigid national blockade – the third of its kind in England, which lasted 49 days – has contributed to a significant drop in the number of new infections.
When Boris declared the blockade on January 4, the moving average of daily cases was close to 55,000. Four days later it peaked at 59,000, the highest on record in the UK since the start of the pandemic.
Since then, there has been a sharp drop in the infection curve and, according to the most recent data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the moving average was 11,200 last Saturday (20) – which represents a drop about 81% over the period mentioned. .
Still, the British Prime Minister has taken a more cautious stance compared to what he has seen in previous months. “Our decisions will be made on the basis of the latest data at every step and we will be careful about this approach so as not to undo the progress we have made so far and the sacrifices each of you have made to stay safe.” , Boris said.
Although some details of the plan, such as the reopening of English schools, have already been anticipated by ministers, the Prime Minister is due to present the full plan to the British Parliament on Monday afternoon. Authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who are responsible for their own public health policies, are also expected to ease restrictions in the coming months.
According to Nadhim Zahawi, minister responsible for the British vaccination campaign, schools are expected to reopen on March 8. Since January 5, only students considered vulnerable and children of workers in essential sectors attend face-to-face lessons, while the others remain in distance education.
Also according to Zahawi, on the same date of the reopening, two people from different families will be allowed to be outside. Socialization authorization for larger groups of up to six people is scheduled for March 29, when outdoor sports can also resume.
Boris faced double pressure in the reopening process. On the one hand, Conservative Party colleagues insist on a recovery in the economy to recoup the estimated loss of US $ 3 trillion (16.5 trillion reais), the worst in the country for 300 years. On the other hand, the scientific community fears new waves of contamination by coronavirus if the end of the lockdown is too accelerated.
According to UK Health Minister Matt Hancock, there will be breaks of a few weeks after each step towards reopening to reassess the possible impacts of the easing, so that the schedule can be changed depending on the country’s epidemiological scenario.
Boris is also expected to condition flexibility on factors such as the speed and success of the vaccination program, infection rates and the impact of the coronavirus variants.
The UK applied around 18.2 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine until last Saturday (20), placing the country behind only the US, China and the European Union in the ranking of countries with the highest absolute number of doses applied.
In the list proportional to the size of each population, the United Kingdom appears in third position, just after Israel and the United Arab Emirates.