U.K. Lockdown Could Last Nearly Three Months

Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the end of lockdown may be delayed beyond mid-February and would last until the end of March, telling MPs the government will be “extremely cautious” about lifting restrictions and reopening schools.

On Monday, Prime Minister Johnson plunged England into a third national coronavirus lockdown. The lockdown includes a strict stay at home orders and the closure of all schools.  Mr Johnson resisted calls from Tory MPs to guarantee the rules will start to be eased after the first review on February 15, the prime minister made it clear that a successful roll-out of the vaccine programme  to the most vulnerable will be key to determining when the lockdown measures can be lifted. Adding on a lag for achieving immunity after vaccination and relieving “the pressure on the NHS”, he then tacked on a further two or three weeks, saying “we should remain cautious of the timetable ahead”, Breitbart reported.

However on Tuesday morning, senior Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove extended the possible timeline further, saying that “as we enter March we should be able to lift some of these restrictions, but not necessarily all”.

On Wednesday the prime minister attempted to assuage the fears of Tory MPs in the House of Commons set to vote on the legislation, and confirmed that the new lockdown law would expire on March 31st, just before Easter, with Good Friday falling on April 2nd. Claiming that he did not believe lockdown would last the full length, the prime minister said: “As was the case last Spring, our emergence from the lockdown cocoon will not be a Big Bang, but a gradual unwrapping.

“That is why the legislation that this House will vote on later today runs until the 31st of March — not because we expect the full national lockdown to continue until then, but to allow a steady, controlled and evidence-led move down through the tiers on a regional basis.”

 

“These restrictions will be kept under continuous review, with a statutory requirement to review every two weeks and a legal obligation to remove them if they are no longer deemed necessary to limit the transmission of the virus.”

The lockdown could last the full three months, however, with a government source telling the Financial Times, according to a report by The Mirror: “Let’s be honest, it’s probably going to run till Easter.”

England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty suggested during a press conference Thursday night, that even with an increase in administered  vaccines against the Chinese virus, there would not be a full lifting of restrictions in the near future, and that, in fact, the country may have to go back into lockdown again next winter.

 

About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met, and married an American journalist and moved to D.C from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A in Graphic, Media and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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