Boris Johnson presents road map to reopening Britain

Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined an easing of Britain's stay-at-home orders in a televised address Sunday night, in what he called "the first sketch of a road map for reopening society", news wires reported.  Johnson said the aim of loosening of the nearly two-month lockdown was to cautiously awaken the economy while bearing in mind "the science, the data and public health."

Schools and shops could begin a phased reopening starting in June, he said, while the businesses in the hospitality industry, like hotels and restaurants, would probably not be able to reopen until July at the earliest.

He said that from Wednesday people could start spending more time outside their homes, including sunbathing in local parks, car travel to other destinations, and playing outdoor sports with people of the same household.

A new five-tier alert system will help inform the public to what extent the pandemic is under control. Johnson said level five is "the most critical" and level one means Covid-19 is "no longer present" in the country. He said Britain has been at level four throughout the lockdown period and that it could now begin to move down a notch to level three. The prime minister said the level would be determined primarily by the infection rate and the total number of coronavirus cases.

Johnson said that the "Covid Alert Level will tell us how tough we have to be in our social distancing measures - the lower the level the fewer the measures. The higher the level, the tougher and stricter we will have to be."

Johnson also confirmed that new arrivals by air would "soon" have to go into quarantine "to prevent reinfection from abroad." He did not give a time frame for the measure. "I am serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air," he said.

Following Johnson's speech, London mayor Sadiq Khan reminded residents in the British capital that the city is still under lockdown. "I want to be as clear as possible with Londoners - social distancing measures are still in place. Lockdown hasn't been lifted and we all still need to play our part in stopping the spread of Covid-19," Khan said in a statement.

Britain has seen nearly 32,000 deaths in the outbreak, the second-worst cumulative death toll behind the United States, and the worst in Europe.

 

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