Boris Johnson will set out his roadmap for relieving restrictions in England on Monday, together with the reopening of faculties, care houses, retail and, ultimately, hospitality. Listed here are a number of the key questions he should resolve.
What number of circumstances a day is ‘acceptable’?
One standards for shifting via the 4 phases of reopening is that “an infection charges don’t threat a surge in hospitalisations which might put unsustainable strain on the NHS”? However what’s that quantity?
The British Medical Affiliation has mentioned it’s only protected to considerably ease restrictions when infections dip beneath 1,000 a day, a determine far decrease than the present seven-day common of 11,500. The chair of the well being choose committee, Jeremy Hunt, has additionally urged a deal with case charges.
In current days Boris Johnson has appeared onboard with this technique, speaking about case charges needing to be “actually very low”. However some Tory MPs consider that is shifting the goalposts and there will probably be strain for Johnson to spell out an appropriate stage of threat.
What measures are wanted to include new variants – and can Tory MPs agree?
Variants are mentioned to be the largest concern of each the well being secretary, Matt Hancock, and the chief medical officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty. The infectiousness of the Kent variant has meant the next variety of individuals must be vaccinated earlier than herd immunity is reached.
In addition they play into Johnson’s standards for reopening – outlined as whether or not “our evaluation of the dangers isn’t basically modified by new variants of concern”.
Robust border measures are meant to include the import of variants – so will we see Johnson add nations to the “crimson record” requiring resort quarantine as a part of the roadmap? New variants additionally emerge when case charges are excessive, which is one other argument for protecting restrictions tight for now. However Tory MPs similar to Mark Harper have mentioned it’s unfair to maintain the nation locked down due to fears of as-yet-unknown variants.
How will the information on colleges reopening be reviewed?
One space the place Johnson seems to have considerably departed from the epidemiological consensus is his plan to deliver all schoolchildren again to class from 8 March, fairly than a staggered return.
Will the prime minister announce that each one reopenings are provisional on monitoring the impact youngsters returning to high school has on the R quantity?
The second a part of the early reopening permitting further social contact is timed to begin with faculty holidays on 29 March – however what’s the science behind that?
How lengthy will the general public be advised to earn a living from home the place they will?
Johnson isn’t anticipated to launch any push again to the workplace, in contrast to what was seen over the summer season. Finally, many companies have advised employees to not return till September on the earliest, and others not till subsequent yr. Will the prime minister steer any course – or depart this solely as much as discretion?
How lengthy will social distancing and mask-wearing be enforced for?
It’s now typically accepted that mass testing, mask-wearing and social distancing are prone to be in place till not less than the tip of the yr. These measures will have an effect on hospitality companies and the numbers that may be served in eating places and pubs. Johnson might want to give some indication about when he expects these locations can return to full capability.
When can individuals keep over at their relations’ houses?
Johnson has beforehand mentioned indoor mixing is without doubt one of the riskiest conditions and households are prone to be permitted to satisfy outdoors a lot sooner. However the query of in a single day stays is prone to be essential to households who reside in several areas of the nation – for instance, grandparents who might not have seen their grandchildren in months. With a lot of the older technology now vaccinated, it will likely be an space the place Johnson will probably be beneath strain to offer an aspirational date for reunions.
When can individuals go on vacation?
The prime minister might lay out a timetable for breaks throughout the UK for households in self-catering lodging, which might be comparatively quickly, although there may be concern at how the virus may unfold to vacation hotspots. Restrictions are prone to be lifted to permit holidays throughout the UK over the summer season – although Johnson could also be reluctant to decide to what number of households can combine throughout these breaks.
International journey seems very unsure, even with discuss of “vaccine corridors” with nations keen to take vaccinated Britons, similar to Greece.