UK Prime Minister (PM), Boris Johnson, has revealed a four-step plan on easing restrictions with hopes of opening everything back up and lifting social restrictions by June 21.
The plan, which was initially published in a BBC Report, indicated that shops, gyms, hair salons, and outdoor hospitality could all reopen as soon as April 12.
Residents of two different households will be able to get together by May 17.
The PM told MPs that at every stage of openings, the decisions would be led by “data not dates,” urging that caution would be necessary.
He stated to a Downing Street news conference that the upcoming seasons of spring and summer would be of “hope, looking and feeling incomparably better for us all,” adding that the four-step plan as a “one-way road to freedom”.
In step one of the four-step plan, schools and recreational space will ropen; in step two indoor sports will be permitted and camping; in step three, two household or six people can meet and mingle, along with a 30-people limit for larger gatherings; and in step four all social restrictions will be lifted and the economy will fully reopen.
So far, more than 18 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the UK as the fight against the virus continues. The UK has approved two COVID-19 vaccines so far, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine.
According to the BBC Report, the vaccines that are being administered across the UK are helping flatten the curve, with infection rates falling five-fold since the beginning of the year.
While the plan shows promising reopenings for the economy in England, the PM urged that certain conditions must be met in order for the plan to go as promised. These conditions include having the vaccine rollout plan go forward as planned, scientific evidence that vaccines are reducing deaths from the virus and leaving less people hospitalized, infection rates not surging in hospitals, and that the new variants do not alter the risk.
The struggling economy
The UK has been hard-hit by the pandemic, with over 121,000 deaths from the virus so far and over 4 million cases.
A BBC Report even suggested that the UK’s economy may have been the hardest hit in the world, with its GDP dropping by 9.9% from 2019 to 2020.
A falling GDP, which stands for Gross Domestic Product, means the economy is shrinking. This means that more jobs are cut, more businesses are closed, and the economy is struggling as a whole.
While the GDP shrunk in many other parts of the world, including just over 5% in Canada, the report suggests that the UK truly was hit the hardest, with Italy right behind at around 9%.
Prime Minister Johnson hopes that the new four-step plan will help the economy get back on its feet.
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