The accelerated vaccination program against the coronavirus in the United Kingdom may allow the removal of restrictions on social contact at the end of June in England, according to the “cautious, but irreversible” roadmap, announced on Monday by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson .
His plan, always subject to hospitalizations and deaths continuing to decline and no variants that threaten the effectiveness of vaccines arise, will begin on March 8 with the reopening of schools and universities and will conclude, in the best possible scenario, on March 21. June in order to “all legal limits to social contact” and the green light for major events.
The timetable detailed by Johnson in Parliament has left some gaps to fill, such as the moment when international travel will resume, a key aspect for engines of the economy such as tourism and the airline sector.
The Government continues to weigh measures to mitigate the risk of importing dangerous mutations of the coronavirus and will announce a specific strategy in this area on April 12. Non-essential international movements, however, will continue to be banned until at least May 17.
Nor has it yet been established what the policy will be regarding the safety distance between people in public places, the mandatory use of a mask, or the recommendations on teleworking.
The implementation of vaccination certificates and negative tests that help to reopen certain sectors is also in the air. Johnson assured that they are under study, although there are doubts about aspects such as privacy or the “discrimination” that they can generate.
“The end is really in sight. This miserable year will give way to a very different spring and summer, incomparably better than the scenario we see around us today,” Johnson told deputies.
The UK has administered almost 18 million doses of the vaccine. By April 15, it is expected to have been offered to those over 50, and before the end of July to all adults.
In his speech in the House of Commons, Johnson defended that the data available so far supports the strategy of delaying the second mandatory injection of both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, to limit the impact of the pandemic on the system. health and increase the number of people with immunity as soon as possible.
Covid free world
Despite the current effectiveness of vaccines, “there is no route to a UK with zero Covid, or a world with zero Covid,” the conservative president warned.
Immunization will never be one hundred percent effective, there will be people who will decide not to be vaccinated and the virus will mutate in the future, so that the level of infections will rebound to some extent when restrictions are lifted, either now, “in six months or in nine months, “he declared.
In spite of everything, “we cannot continue indefinitely with restrictions that weaken our economy, our physical and mental well-being, as well as the vital opportunities of our children,” he stressed.
The de-escalation will be carried out in principle homogeneously throughout England – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland follow their own road maps – although the prime minister did not rule out that at some point local restrictions may be imposed to stop the expansion of some new variant of the virus.
The relaxation of the restrictions will be carried out in four stages, separated by five weeks, a space that will allow the analysis of data on the evolution of the pandemic and notify the affected sectors at least one week in advance.
More than the number of daily infections, the decisions to change the phase will focus on the impact of Covid-19 on the health system and the number of deaths.
March 8: schools reopen and extracurricular outdoor sport is allowed. Two people from different households can meet in outdoor public spaces. Nursing homes will allow only one visitor.
March 29: Six people from up to six different households, or two households of any size, will be able to meet outdoors, in public spaces or private gardens.
Outdoor sports facilities such as golf courses and basketball courts are reopening, and organized outdoor team sport is allowed.
You should still work from home if possible, but travel beyond the “local area” is allowed.
Starting April 12 at the earliest: non-essential shops, hair salons, beauty salons, libraries and museums, as well as open-air venues, including restaurant and bar terraces, reopen. Gyms and indoor swimming pools (you can go alone or with the family) and zoos and theme parks also open their doors, with strict measures of personal distance.
30 people are allowed to attend funerals and 15 to weddings and wakes, and campsites and holiday resorts are reopened where facilities are not shared.
Starting May 17 at the earliest: Up to 30 people from different households will be able to congregate outside. Up to six people from different nuclei, or more, but from a maximum of two households may meet in homes or other closed spaces, such as bars and restaurants, cinemas or group activities.
If all goes well, international travel and vacations abroad could begin to be authorized.
1,000 people, or half the capacity (whichever is less) will be allowed into closed sports venues, and in open ones the limit will be 4,000. In large stadiums, the maximum will be 10,000 people or half the capacity (the lower number).
A maximum of 30 people may attend weddings and other ceremonies, such as baptisms, will be authorized.
Not before June 21: Social contact restrictions are lifted and all sectors of the economy still closed, such as nightclubs, reopen. Massive events will be allowed.