Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the impending phased lifting of the coronavirus lockdown in the UK, as he addressed Parliament on Monday, with a reopening of the country hinging on the success of the vaccine roll-out, reduced COVID-19 hospitalisations, and whether risks are ‘fundamentally changed’ by new virus variants.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement in Parliament on Monday of an “irreversible” lifting of the coronavirus lockdown in the UK by stages had been prompted by dire warnings from experts of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), reported the Daily Mail.
While initially Johnson had hoped to schedule a reopening of outdoor pubs and restaurants, outdoor attractions and non-essential shops to coincide with the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, papers released on Monday night show that No. 10 had been cautioned by SAGE scientists against a swift relaxation of the restrictions, with the easing subsequently delayed until 12 April.
The advisers had based their warnings on compelling modelling results laid out in a document produced by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team regarding infections and fatalities. A range of scenarios had been modelled, including several that would have seen lockdown eased earlier, with the most recent one drawn up earlier in February.