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UK looks forwards to easing lockdown from March – Foreign Minister

Britain’s government looks forward to easing some lockdown restrictions in March as it presses ahead with Europe’s quickest rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, Foreign Minister, Dominic Raab, said on Sunday.

The country, which also has Europe’s highest COVID-19 death toll, has been under national lockdown since Jan. 5, with schools closed for most pupils, non-essential businesses shut and people ordered to work from home where possible.

The nation, which additionally has Europe’s highest COVID-19 loss of life, has been under public lockdown since Jan. 5, with schools for most students, non-essential businesses shut and individuals requested to work remotely where possible.

“Our plan is to get out of this national lockdown as soon as we can,’’ Raab told Sky News television.

“By late-winter, ideally, by March, we’ll be in a situation to settle on those decisions.

“I think it’s right to state that we won’t do it across the board in one big bang.

“As we phase out the national lockdown, I think we’ll wind up staging through a (regional) layered methodology.’’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set a target of immunising the oldest age groups, the clinically vulnerable and frontline workers – approximately 14 million individuals – by the middle of February.

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He said that England can consider easing lockdown restrictions from that time if all goes as wished.

The Sunday Times said that British ministers had settled their disparities to back a three-point plan that could prompt some lockdown restrictions being lifted as soon as early March.

Regions will have restrictions eased once their death rate has decreased, the number of hospital admissions drops and some people aged between 50 and 70 are immunised, the newspaper said.

It cited priests as saying they were set up to oppose pressure from wellbeing counselors to defer the progressions until a great many people are immunized, a cycle that could take until the harvest time.

It cited ministers as saying they were ready to resist pressure from health advisers to delay the changes until most people are immunised, a process that could take until the autumn.

A spokesman in Johnson’s office declined to relate his take on the report.

The head of England’s public health service said the vaccination programme had made “an extremely solid beginning” however a quarter of people hospitalised were less than 55 years, younger than the priority target groups.

“It won’t be the situation that on Valentine’s Day or the fifteenth of February, with one bound we are free.

“In any case, similarly, I don’t think we will need to stand by until the autumn,” Simon Stevens disclosed to BBC TV, alluding to the easing of the lockdown restrictions.

“This is going to be a progressive improvement as we get more COVID-19 vaccination supply.’’ (Reuters/NAN)

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