What time is Boris Johnson’s roadmap announcement and what might it say?

Next week Boris Johnson will set out his plan for easing the lockdown. Credit: PA

The route out of lockdown, which the prime minister will set out on February 22, is set to be long and winding with several roadblocks, but according to Boris Johnson, there will be no turning back.

Summer holidays and the reopening of pubs are two hot topics surrounded by speculation, while a return to schools for some youngsters is just weeks away.

The PM is determined that each step out of coronavirus restrictions will be "irreversible" - here's a look at how that might pan out:

  • When will it be revealed?

Boris Johnson will outline England's plan for coming out of lockdown on Monday.

He is expected to speak to MPs in the House of Commons at 3.30pm, before a Downing Street briefing in the evening.

  • What do we know already?

We know that the road map is made up of four steps, the first of which will split in two - on March 8 and March 29.

On March 8, schools are expected to reopen and people will be allowed to meet one other person outdoors in a public space, which is currently not permitted.

From March 29, the rule of six will return to allow gatherings outdoors.

Organised sport will also make a return on the same day, with tennis and basketball courts to reopen and grassroots football to continue.

  • How is the government approaching the easing of restrictions?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is keen for any relaxation of lockdown to be gradual, with any easements set to be "cautious but irreversible".

"We want to be going one way from now on," he said during a visit to a mass vaccination centre in south Wales, agreeing that he will be basing his decisions on "data, not dates".

In stark contrast to his ambitious and optimistic approach to easing the first lockdown, the prime minister is keen to ensure each step this time is "cautious and prudent".

The four tests the government is basing lockdown lifting on:

  • The vaccine deployment continues successfully

  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated

  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS

  • An increase or discovery of any variant of concern does not change the government's assessment of the risks

He said: "He'll be setting out what we can on Monday about the way ahead and it'll be based firmly on a cautious and prudent approach to coming out of lockdown in such a way to be irreversible.

ITV Political Editor Robert Peston on what the route out of lockdown will look like:

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government “absolutely” wants the current lockdown to be the last.

Speaking to ITV News, he said: "The work we'll be doing this week is to make the judgements about what we can do to exit lockdown safely, yet quickly.

"That is the difficult balance, we want a sustainable exit so we don't have to go back into lockdown."

Mr Johnson said he will set out dates “if we possibly can”, explaining they will likely be target dates “by which we hope to do something at the earliest”.

  • What will reopen first?

Watch Boris Johnson's response when asked about the reopening of schools:

It's clear schools will be the first to reopen.

Care home residents will also likely be allowed to have one indoor visitor from March 8 as part of the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Visitors will have to have a Covid lateral flow test and wear PPE during their visit. Hand-holding will be allowed but visitors will be asked to avoid kissing their loved ones.

When asked about the order for reopening society, Mr Johnson told reporters in south Wales that it would be done in stages and hinted that the hospitality sector would be the last.

He suggested this is likely to be the case, as it was following the first lockdown, because of an increased risk of Covid-19 transmission in hospitality venues.

  • Will there be testing in schools?

The government is considering how it can use rapid-turnaround testing to help the return of children to the classroom.

Helen Whately said there is “work in progress” after being questioned about reports that parents could be asked to test their children at home twice a week.

She told the BBC: “There is work being done to look at how testing will help schools come back. But there will be more details set out about that next week.”

Ms Whately, asked about reports that parents of secondary school children will be asked to administer rapid flow tests during term time, said: “I’m not going to get drawn into that.”

But she went on: “There is work in progress looking at how testing can support schools to come back.

“There’s already testing going on in schools, where you have children of key workers and teachers in schools at the moment, because schools aren’t completely closed, and there is work going on at the moment about the details of the return to schools, and there will be more said about that next week.”

  • How is the rest of the roadmap looking?

It is thought non-essential shops will reopen after schools Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

After schools, it is expected the next areas of easing will be non-essential shops and the rules on outdoor recreation and socialising.

Downing Street said it wanted to make social contact easier as soon as possible as Prime Minister Boris Johnson spends the weekend finalising plans for relaxing measures in England.

Media reports have suggested various reopening dates for hospitality, with optimistic suggestions varying from Easter weekend to May, with the caveat that the initial reopening may be for outdoors rather than indoors.

While the devolved nations have power over their own lockdowns, the PM suggested leaders of all four UK nations have been in discussions aimed finding a consensus for what steps should be taken.

Asked whether the four UK nations should ease their restrictions in unison, the PM said: "We have continuous conversations with Mark Drakeford, with other representatives of devolved administrations, about how to do it, just as we work on the vaccination programme together.

"We try and make sure we concert our approach and our general messages."

Downing Street declined to comment on what the PM's road map out of restrictions may feature, including when asked if he could rule out easing all legal restrictions by the end of April.

Mr Johnson's official spokesman said: "I can't pre-empt what's going to be in the road map or the details of the review this week.

"It will be the review this week that informs the decisions we make and what is contained in the road map on Monday, I can't pre-empt that."

  • What is the criteria for relaxing restrictions?

There are multiple tests for easing the lockdown restrictions, including infection rates and pressure on the NHS.

The PM has been warned by a top NHS boss that coronavirus case numbers in England needed to fall by hundreds of thousands before lifting lockdown should be considered.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of the NHS Providers organisation, wrote to Mr Johnson cautioning that cases, which are currently estimated by the Office for National Statistics to be at 695,400, need to drop to around 50,000 before a lifting of any measures can be considered.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston broke down the four tests:

1) whether the roll out of the vaccine remains on target

2) whether the vaccines are reducing hospitalisations and deaths

3) whether there is a surge in infections that risks an associated surge in hospitalisations that would overwhelm the NHS

4) whether new variants land or develop here that escape the efficacy of the vaccines.

The PM's official spokesman said: "We're looking at the evidence and data as a whole.

"We're looking at infection rates, and the transmission rates of the virus across the country, the number of people that are being hospitalised, the number of people who are currently in hospital, the number of people who are sadly going on to die from the virus, alongside the latest R rate, and the impact that the vaccination programme is having on transmission rates of the virus.

"So we're looking at a whole range of evidence and data and it will be that that informs the road map that we publish on Monday next week."

  • When and how can pubs and restaurants reopen?

UKHospitality has said the sector needs a ‘very clear phased exit strategy’ Credit: Nick Potts/PA

It has been reported, though far from confirmed, that the government is working on a plan to allow a reopening of the hospitality sector by late April, with sporting and entertainment venues to open doors weeks later in May.

But the prime minister gave nothing away when asked about a return for hospitality, urging the public to patient.

"I would just advise everybody just wait, we'll try and say as much as we can on that," he said.

Trade group UK Hospitality is calling for the majority of firms to be allowed to trade under a regionally tiered or national system from April 1.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive for UKHospitality, has called for a “very clear phased exit strategy from the lockdown”.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, she said they need “not just that initial date but the phasing out of those restrictions linked to the rollout of the vaccine”.

The prime minister has hinted that the reopening of hospitality could be facilitated by with the use of rapid-turnaround Covid-19 tests.

At last Monday's Downing Street press conference, he told how lateral tests, which anyone can quickly carry out, are likely to be the "route forward" but said it's “still early days, there are lots of discussions still to be had”.

He said: “You are already seeing lots of business using the potential of rapid, on-the-day testing as well. I think that, in combination with vaccination, will probably be the route forward.”

  • And what about holidays?

Travel industry groups said it is vital that the Government works with them to develop a road map to reopen the sector Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Ministers are looking at plans for people who live in the same household to be allowed to go on breaks together from April, the Times newspaper reported.

The Save Future Travel Coalition, made up of 12 leading travel trade organisations, has said it is vital that the government works with the industry to develop a road map to reopen travel.

The coalition warns that the industry cannot afford to wait until everyone in the UK is vaccinated before people start to travel again, otherwise insolvencies and redundancies will be inevitable.

The industry argues that a risk-based approach to travel, including a co-ordinated approach to vaccine certificates and use of passenger testing will be critical in opening up the overseas travel market.

Mr Johnson acknowledged some countries may require proof of a vaccine before tourists are allowed to enter.

Watch Boris Johnson's response to question on vaccine passports:

He said: "I think inevitably there will be great interest in ideas like, can you show that you had a vaccination against Covid in the way that you sometimes have to show you have had a vaccination against Yellow Fever or other diseases in order to travel somewhere.

"I think that is going to be very much in the mix down the road, I think that is going to happen."

Downing Street has said the government is doing “everything we can to make sure people can have a holiday this summer”.

  • What about care homes?

Plans could include grandparents being able to meet their grandchildren outside, reports suggest Credit: Martin Rickett/PA

As referenced earlier, care home residents will likely be allowed one visitor from March 8.

Care minister Helen Whately has said she expects the rules on care home visits to be covered as part of the PM's roadmap, hinting that a relaxation of some restrictions could be on the horizon.

She suggested holding hands could soon be allowed, even before residents have had their second dose of a vaccine.

With a 12-week delay between the first and second doses, Care Minister Whately said "I want us to open up sooner than that", suggesting that some of the restrictions could be eased in the coming months.

She said "even if it's to be able to hold hands again ... I really want to make that happen".

But visitors will still be expected to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) even if visiting rules are relaxed.

Ms Whately told Sky News "What I want to do as we come out of the national lockdown is also increase the amount of visiting.

"I don't see that we have to wait for the second vaccination dose, I want us to open up sooner than that."

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