Steve Baker, vice chairman of the Covid Recovery Group, argued the government should take his advice and open the country at Easter. He added that the country’s most vulnerable, which account for the highest number of coronavirus deaths, are expected to be vaccinated by March, which means the rest of the country is expected to return to normal. It comes amid fears Boris Johnson will reveal his intentions to reopen pubs and restaurants as a last resort, which echoes the latest lockdown in a move many have supported would only cripple the industry further.
Speaking to Robert Peston on his ITV show, the host asked what would be Mr Baker’s preferred timeline to reopen the country.
He said, “The timeline we have chosen is based very intimately on the government’s vaccine rollout plan, so these are the government’s own dates.
“But what we said was that, since people are vaccinated, the restrictions should be relaxed proportionately.”
Mr Peston then asked when Mr Baker would like to see the hospitality industry reopened.
He replied: “I would like to come back for Easter, which is, of course, in six weeks.
“They need about two weeks to open, the government could monitor the data for a month and give them two weeks’ notice to open.
“Remember, Statista predicts that by March 24 we will have vaccinated these first nine groups.”
A Statista report analyzed the phase 1 of the government’s vaccine rollout and found that if vaccination rates remained the same, the next four priority groups would be vaccinated by March 24.
“So Matt Hancock made it very clear that what matters is to sever the link between hospitalizations and deaths.
“It’s only recently, in the last few days, that the government has started talking about cases again, and it needs to explain why it is shifting targets.
“It was Matt Hancock who did the tests (on) hospitalizations and deaths.”
Boris Johnson is set to reveal his non-lockdown roadmap on February 22.
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