Boris to Unveil Strategy to End Lockdown This Week: Report

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a “comprehensive plan” for reopening parts of British society on Sunday.

Various media outlets have reported that the prime minister will make the announcement three days after the government is required to review the current lockdown restrictions.

The reopening plans are expected to focus on schools and places of work. According to several draft documents seen by the BBC, some measures being considered for reopening workplaces include physical screens for customer-facing staff and personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff who are not able to maintain the recommended six-foot distance.

The Department for Business, Energy, and Industry Strategy (BEIS) is also reportedly considering recommending staggering work shifts, a ban on hot-desking and other sharing of office equipment, as well as employee “health passports”. Homeworking should be maintained where possible, and employers may be recommended to reduce staff numbers in workplaces.

The Guardian reports that Prime Minister Johnson may also announce on Sunday that children in year six (aged ten to 11) will be allowed to go back to school on June 1st. In the following weeks, other primary school children and years’ 10 and 12 pupils will also be gradually phased into returning to school.

The reports come as senior government minister Michael Gove told media on Sunday that some level of social distancing measures will be in place until a vaccine has been found.

Scientists have estimated in recent weeks that it could take a year to develop and produce enough vaccines for the whole country. Even with Oxford University-developed vaccine trials starting this summer, it could take further months to manufacture enough of the material.  The UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said last month that vaccines are sometimes “long shots” that do not always work.

Later on Monday, prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to take part in a teleconferencing summit with world leaders to discuss organising a global effort to fight the Chinese virus.

However, even amidst reports signalling an end to lock down and the beginning of a return to normal life, previous senior figures in the government have made statements less than a week ago to the contrary.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said on Thursday that the UK was “nowhere near the end” of the pandemic and that there is a very long way to run for every country in the world on this”.

Hosting his first coronavirus conference recovering from the Chinese virus, Prime Minister Johnson also said on Thursday that while “we are past the peak of this disease”, he signalled that the end of the lockdown remained some distance off.


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