The ongoing UK lockdown may not ease significantly until daily cases of coronavirus drop to the hundreds a day rather than thousands, the Telegraph reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, UK prime minister Boris Johnson will publish a plan mapping the restrictions next week.
Schools are likely to reopen on 8 March, but may provide reviews of ongoing COVID-19 cases rather than clear timetables.
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced young primary school students will return to class on the 22nd, but most older pupils will stay at home a further month. Scientists expect the national R-rate to jump 0.4 points, the Telegraph said.
“For any significant relaxation of lockdown, household mixing and reopening pubs, case numbers have to be in the hundreds, not thousands.The numbers are coming down quite fast, but the plan is likely to be high level and set out the tests that have to be met for restrictions to be released. There is real reluctance about committing to specific dates without knowing what the case numbers are doing,” a Whitehall source said in a statement as cited by the Telegraph.
The statement comes as 1.7m people were added to Downing Street’s list of shielded residents, over a month after Johnson’s third lockdown announcement on 4 January. The British Prime Minister noted lifting the lockdown would rely on NHS capacity, the national vaccine rollout and decrease in the number of deaths, the report read.
Outdoor activities such as golf and tennis may restart next month, with shops reopening in April. Pubs could open their doors in May, but the Government would continue to review data every three weeks to determine further actions, it added.
“The Prime Minister is right to say that where we are today in terms of number of people in hospital, in terms of case numbers per day, is still far too high, and we want to make sure we bring that right down. But I wouldn’t want to speculate on this until we see more data,” UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News on Tuesday.
London is set to unveil a major testing effort, with over 400,000 rapid flow kits sent to homes and offices, according to reports.
10,636 cases were reported on Tuesday, down from 68,192 on 8 January, four days after the lockdown was announced, data from Johns Hopkins University found.