U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Confirms Easing of Lockdown in England Next Week

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed in a Downing Street press conference that  the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in England will ease starting next week.

Johnson said on April 5 that pubs and restaurants serving outside, as well as non-essential shops and venues, including gyms, community centers, and hairdressers, can reopen as planned starting from April 12.

The new relaxations also allow overnight stays away from home, as well as self-contained accommodation, such as holiday cottages, for members of the same household or support bubble.

Maximum attendance at weddings will also increase from six to 15.

Johnson said that the vaccination program and commitment to lockdown rules was “paying off.”

Data that show that the government was meeting the four tests — successful vaccination program, decrease in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations, no surge in cases, and no increase in risk from new variants — “fully justified” the relaxations of lockdown rules, according to Johnson.

However, distancing rules will remain and indoor settings must only be visited alone or with household groups. Meanwhile, outdoor settings are limited to either six people or two households.

Johnson also urged caution, saying, “We can’t be complacent. We can see the waves of sickness afflicting other countries and we’ve seen how this story goes.”

The decision to allow international travel has also been delayed for another month, with Johnson cautioning against the effects of surges in other parts of the world.

The government also advised people not to book summer holidays abroad “until the picture is clearer” in an update on a series of reviews on COVID-19 measures published on April 5.

According to the update, the government cannot yet confirm that non-essential international travel can resume on May 17 “given the state of the pandemic abroad.”


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