Johnson Considers Allowing UK to Return to Work by July
By Staff, Agencies
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering a staged exit from the COVID-19 lockdown that would see Britain's battered economy fully returning to work in July.
The coronavirus, which emerged in China in late 2019, has killed 2.4 million people worldwide, upended normal life for billions and tipped Britain to its worst slump in 300 years.
Johnson, who will set out the path out of lockdown on Feb 22, said the exit plan will be cautious but irreversible, the Daily Mail reported.
Britain has vaccinated 15.6 million people with a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far.
The Mail said a limited escape from lockdown would begin in April with holiday lets and larger hotels reopening, though restaurants would have to wait until May. Some sports such as golf and tennis could resume. Full pub reopening would begin in early June.
"Leisure businesses may not return to 'broadly normal' until July under a road map out of lockdown," the Mail reported, though it said the final decision has yet to be made by Johnson.
"Office staff are expected to be told to keep working from home when the Prime Minister unveils his road map," the Mail said. "The 'work from home if you can' message will continue for the foreseeable future."
Johnson, who has cautioned people to take newspaper reports on his plans with caution, as a final decision is yet to be taken, says he wants to see more data on how the vaccine roll-out is affecting severe illness and death.
So far, there is not enough from Britain to be absolutely sure of the impact, Chris Whitty, the government's chief medical adviser said on Monday.
The easing of the most stringent peacetime curbs on personal freedoms in modern English history will be accompanied by a mass testing program. English schools will reopen on March 8.