Boris Johnson outlines the roadmap to get England out of the blockade


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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to detail in Parliament on Monday the path to gradually lifting restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic in England, depending on the continued success of the ongoing vaccination campaign. The government is set to reopen primary and secondary schools on March 8 after a two-month shutdown after Christmas, according to plans widely leaked in the British press on Monday. Non-essential retail stores could reopen towards the end of April, but pubs and restaurants will remain closed unless they can offer cookouts, according to newspapers reported by government officials. Restrictions on outdoor gatherings and indoor socializing, as well as children’s sports, will be gradually lifted from the end of March. However, further liberalization will depend on the continued decline in new infections, evidence showing that vaccines are reducing hospital admissions and deaths, and the absence of new vaccine-resistant variants. More than 26% of the UK population has received a first injection of the COVID-19 vaccine, second only in the world by Israel (82%) and the United Arab Emirates (55%). That compares with less than 6% of the population of the European Union. The restrictions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are matters for the delegated regional governments to decide. A study by the executive agency Public Health Scotland showed on Monday that the vaccines Pfizer – BioNTech PFE, -0.60% BNTX, + 0.79% and AstraZeneca – Oxford AZN, -0.62% reduced hospital admissions by up to one 85% and 94%, respectively. Read: Boris Johnson ‘deeply regrets every life lost’ as UK surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 deaths

The big picture: Johnson’s caution seems to show that he has learned from last year’s trials, when the UK was the European country hardest hit by the coronavirus disease. Now you can use the success of the vaccination campaign to provide reasonable hope that the UK can finally see the end of the tunnel. Regardless of how cautious he insists, the risk is that the prime minister could raise expectations to the point where compliance with current restrictions weakens in the coming weeks, jeopardizing the first results of the vaccination campaign. Dispatches from a pandemic: Are people willing to live with more deaths from COVID-19? One of the most infected cities in Europe just loosen restrictions