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Boris Johnson dampens hopes of Easter pub return ahead of lockdown exit roadmap




Boris Johnson dampens hopes of Easter pub return ahead of lockdown exit roadmap

The prospect of reopening pubs at Easter seems more distant after comments from Johnson (PA)

Alain tolhurst

3 min read

Boris Johnson recalled that hospitality was “one of the last things to come back after the first lockdown, as the UK eagerly awaits the reopening of pubs.

The prime minister was speaking amid feverish speculation about what will be contained in his “road map” aside from the current restrictions on coronaviruses, which are due to be announced on Monday.

Reports suggest that if the government will recommend that schools be the first things to return, potentially from March 8, Johnson will announce a gradual reopening of hospitality starting several weeks later, in time for the long weekend. Easter.

But during a visit to a mass vaccination center in Cwmbran, south Wales, Johnson reiterated his message that the easing of England’s lockdown will be based on a “cautious and cautious approach”.

“I certainly think we have to take it in stages. We have to go with caution,” he said.

“You have to remember last year that we fully opened up hospitality as one of the last things we did because there is obviously an additional risk of hospitality being passed on.

“I know there’s a lot of understandable speculation in the papers and people are coming up with theories about what we’re going to do, what we’re going to say, and infection rates, and so on.

“I would just advise everyone to wait, we’ll try to say all we can about this.”

Earlier, Professor Dame Angela McLean, chief science adviser at the Department of Defense, told the Commons Science and Technology Committee that any unlock should be based on “data, not dates”.

When asked if he agreed, the Prime Minister said: “I think that is absolutely true. That is why we are going to lay out what we can on Monday on the way forward and it will be firmly based on a cautious and cautious approach to getting out of lockdown so as to be irreversible. “

Members of the committee had asked Professor McLean whether the R-level of Covid cases had to be at a certain level before the lockdown could be eased.

She replied: “I think the timing is probably more important, it’s the number of people most at risk – it’s a mix of older people or people with underlying illnesses – who have been vaccinated before. that we do not unlock more.

“The important question is to really monitor what is happening very closely, so that if the infections start to increase and we do all we can to decide if this is the right time to take another step in the unlocking. Let’s use data, not dates. “Referring to Johnson’s comments at Monday’s press conference that unlocking would be “prudent but irreversible,” she added: “I think it has been made clear enough that every step should be irrevocable.

“This means that we have to be extremely careful, before adding another unlock.”

And she explained that while ‘everything is going in the right direction’ on infections, cases, hospitalizations and deaths, there is still a lot of pressure on the NHS.

“There were around 20,000 people in the hospital earlier this week. By comparison, at the beginning of May there were around 15,000 patients, but there are still a lot of people in the hospital,” he said. said Professor McClean.

“I share everyone’s optimism about the fantasy of this vaccine. But I would say we have to be optimistic and careful, there are still a lot of people infected.”

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