BORIS Johnson has announced plans to ease lockdown measures from the February 22, as he hopes schools will be able to reopen across the UK from March 8.
The PM addressed the House of Commons this afternoon, as the date of the restrictions review, February 15, draws closer.
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When has lockdown been extended until?
Boris Johnson told MPs the government plan to arrange a "gradual and phased" relaxation of coronavirus rules for the last week of February.
Death rates and hospitalisations will be taken into consideration, as well as the vaccination rollout and mutations of the virus.
However he announced that schools in England will not open after the February half term, but hoped that children could return from March 8.
"The first sign of normality beginning to return should be pupils going back to their classrooms," he said.
"I know how parents and teachers need as much certainty as possible, including two weeks' notice of the return of face-to-face teaching.
"So I must inform the House that for the reasons I have outlined it will not be possible to reopen schools immediately after the February half-term."
He also confirmed that no other sectors that are currently closed under restrictions, such as hospitality, will open until after March 8.
Mr Johnson also announced a mandatory hotel quarantine period of ten days in government facilities for travellers returning from South Africa, Portugal and South America.
The PM said the Government is "looking at the data as it comes in, looking at the rates of infection" when asked about the easing of restrictions.
When will lockdown next be reviewed?
Boris Johnson's spokesman confirmed that the review of lockdown measures in England will happen on February 15.
He confirmed previous comments from the PM before Mr Johnson's said plans to ease restrictions will be assessed before mid-February.
Mr Johnson said earlier that the UK was on track to give the 13 million most vulnerable Brits a vaccine by February 15, adding: "But before then we'll be looking at the potential of relaxing some measures."
The PM made the remarks during a visit to a vaccination site at Barnet FC's stadium in north London.
He added: "Now this massive achievement has been made of rolling out this vaccination programme, I think people want to see us making sure we don't throw that away by having a premature relaxation and then another big surge of infection.
"We're going to be looking at where we've got to on February 15.
"We'll be deciding before then whether we'll be getting schools back, but daily we're looking at data and deciding when we'll be looking to lift restrictions.
On Monday, January 4, Mr Johnson announced that England would be placed under a third national lockdown.
In an address to the nation, he said that people must again stay at home to protect the NHS and to save lives, and suggested that the restrictions would last for seven weeks until mid-February.
Mr Johnson said that by the middle of February, the vaccine was expected to have been offered to everyone in the top four priority groups and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.
Lockdown restrictions look set to be lifted in March, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab revealed today (Sunday, January 17).
He said easing measures will "not happen in one big bang," instead insisting they will be "phased out" in individual regions.
The lockdown measures remain law until March 31 but the easing of measures will depend on how quickly the vaccine can be rolled out.
When is February half term 2021?
Half term dates vary depending on where you live.
For most, the February half term is from Monday 15 – Friday 19.
For the dates in your area, check your local council's website.
By entering your postcode on the government website you will be directed to your council's page.
Will the tier system return?
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the government hopes to be in a position to make decisions about easing the lockdown by March.
But he warned the easing of measures will "not happen in one big bang" as restrictions will be "phased out" in individual regions.
It comes as the Sunday Times reported the Cabinet has agreed a lockdown exit strategy and a return to the tiers system.
In order for measures to be eased, an area's death rate must fall, the number of hospital admissions must drop and some in the 50 to 70-year-old age range must be vaccinated.
He told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Of course what we want to do is get out of this national lockdown."
But he added: "We won't do it all in one big bang.
"We will end up phasing through the tiered approach.”
He told BBC's Andrew Marr "we can start to think about the phased transition out of the national lockdown" if government targets are met by early spring.
Tory MPs have piled pressure on Boris Johnson to publish a "clear road map" for easing the lockdown from March 8, warning the PM there "cannot be any more excuses".
Mark Harper, the Tory chairman of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, said people "need hope" and businesses "need a plan in order to survive".
He wrote in The Sunday Telegraph: "That's why this week, we need a draft plan for the progressive lifting of restrictions from March 8 so that the public, businesses and scientists can use it as the basis for a sensible debate, as the Prime Minister suggested on Friday."
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