Lockdown Could Last Nearly Three Months, Despite Boris Suggesting End in Six Weeks

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 06: An anti-lockdown protester is held by police officers in Par
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The duration of the third national lockdown appears to be getting longer by the day, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that legislation would last until the end of March, despite expressing hope on Monday that measures would be lifted by mid-February.

On Monday, Prime Minister Johnson announced a lockdown across England, including stay-at-home orders and the closure of all schools. Mr Johnson would not commit to an end-date for the measures, suggesting only a soft deadline of mid-February –but only “if things go well”, in terms of suppressing the Chinese virus and rolling out the vaccines to the most vulnerable. Adding on a lag for achieving immunity after vaccination and relieving “the pressure on the NHS”, Johnson then tacked on a further two or three weeks, saying “we should remain cautious of the timetable ahead”.

On Tuesday morning, senior minister Michael Gove extended the possible timeline further, saying that “as we enter March we should be able to lift some of these restrictions, but not necessarily all”.

While on Wednesday, addressing MPs in the House of Commons set to vote on the legislation, Johnson confirmed that the new lockdown law would expire on March 31st, just before Easter, with Good Friday falling on April 2nd. Claiming that he did not believe lockdown would last the full length, the prime minister said: “As was the case last Spring, our emergence from the lockdown cocoon will not be a Big Bang, but a gradual unwrapping.

“That is why the legislation that this House will vote on later today runs until the 31st of March — not because we expect the full national lockdown to continue until then, but to allow a steady, controlled and evidence-led move down through the tiers on a regional basis.”

“These restrictions will be kept under continuous review, with a statutory requirement to review every two weeks and a legal obligation to remove them if they are no longer deemed necessary to limit the transmission of the virus.”

The lockdown could last the full three months, however, with a government source telling the Financial Times, according to a report by The Mirror: “Let’s be honest, it’s probably going to run till Easter.”

While another source said that Mr Johnson had told fellow Conservative MPs in a call that the situation will have improved by the end of “tulip season” (which begins in March and runs to May), or even “daffodil season” (early March to April).

During a press conference with the prime minister last night, England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said that even with the uptake of the vaccines against the Chinese coronavirus, there would not be a full lifting of restrictions in the near future, and that, in fact, the country may have to go back into lockdown again next winter.


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