Boris Johnson Hints UK Could Begin Easing Lockdown As Soon As Monday


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Boris Johnson has said the government could begin to ease the UK’s coronavirus lockdown from Monday.

Speaking during prime minister’s questions in the Commons, the PM said he planned to give a statement on Sunday setting out plans for the next day. 

He did not specify which measures might be dropped or amended first as ministers were “continuously” receiving data from health and science experts. 

“We will want, if we possibly can, to get going with some of those measures on Monday,” he said, in a reply to Labour leader Keir Starmer. 

“I think it would be a good thing […] if people had an idea of what’s coming the following day. That’s why I think Sunday, the weekend, is the best time to do it.”

It is not yet clear what the public can expect as the Cabinet will meet on Thursday to agree the government’s next moves. 

Transport secretary Grant Shapps suggested last week that work start times could be staggered so social distancing on trains and buses might be easier. 

And schools will restart in a “phased manner”, education secretary Gavin Williamson has previously said, though he did not give a date. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London, to attend his first weekly Prime Minister’s Questions since recovering from coronavirus

Challenging the PM at the despatch box, Starmer said: “There are millions of people on furlough, as the prime minister knows, millions with children struggling with caring responsibilities.

“If they are to return to work and if their children are to return to school, they need reassurance, I think we can all feel that, reassurance that it will be safe to do so. And that means they do need to know what the government’s plan is for the next stage.”

Johnson said he could not give a full answer to MPs now because “we have to be sure that the data is going to support” plans

The PM also acknowledged it would spark an “economic disaster” should lifting restrictions see cases of Covid-19 surge again. 

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, speaking via video conference, meanwhile, said the lockdown must remain in place “for as long as it’s needed” as he called for people to avoid travelling to beauty spots. 

Johnson said he would be working with leaders in Scotland to “get the un-lockdown plan completely right” and added: “It’d be an economic disaster for this country if we were to pursue a relaxation of these measures now in such a way as to trigger a second spike – on that point I’m in complete agreement with him.” 

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