Over the past year, people across Britain have found themselves living under strict restrictions or in lockdown due to Covid-19. The soaring Covid infection rate during the second wave of the disease resulted in the current lockdown, which came into force after Christmas.
While infection rates and Covid deaths appear to be falling at present, there is still no clear indication of when the Government will ease lockdown and lift restrictions. There is speculation that it could be July before restrictions ease entirely.
Infection numbers still need to fall
Scientists working on the React study at London’s Imperial College have been tracking the course of the virus. They have confirmed that infection rates have been falling across England, with some areas experiencing significant falls. Despite the falls in infection rates over recent days, some believe the number of new daily infections must fall below 1,000 for restrictions to be safely lifted and for the country to start getting back to normal.
In a recent interview, the Chief Executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said, “We have crested the peak but we’re only just starting the descent. We’re still at a dangerously high altitude where the NHS is under great pressure and the thing we know is the descent is going to be much slower because people are taking longer to recover. It’s going to take months, not days and weeks.”
Many are now questioning just how low infection rates will have to go before restrictions will be eased. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has been receiving new data relating to infection rates. He is due to announce a proposed roadmap out of lockdown on Monday 22nd February.
A gradual process
The PM has made it clear that the lifting of lockdown restrictions will be a gradual process. The priority is to get schools and colleges back to reduce the impact of the lockdown on education. However, many are also concerned about when hard-hit industries like hospitality will be allowed to make a comeback.
Due to plans to gradually ease restrictions, it could be around July before most restrictions are lifted. This is based on current data and on the assumption that there are no further issues that arise over the coming months. It also relies on the vaccination programme's continued success, which has seen millions of seniors, vulnerable people, and health service workers receiving their first jabs.