Today the Prime Minister set out the Government’s roadmap for cautiously easing Covid-19 restrictions.
This has been a difficult winter for many of us, and I understand that it has been the uncertainty about when we can see our friends and family again which has made it even tougher.
Below I have set out the details of each step of the roadmap and you can read the full details here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021
This roadmap outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, the government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous easements. This assessment will be based on four tests which are that:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- The Government’s assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.
I hope this plan, alongside the extremely successful rollout of the vaccine both locally and nationally, brings some hope.
I also recognise that ongoing restrictions, at any level, create financial difficulties for people and businesses, and I understand the Chancellor will announce the latest package of support in the Budget next week. Since March I have been raising the particular difficulties facing the hospitality supply chain, events businesses, the self-employed and arts sectors. I have continued to raise these points to the Treasury ahead of the Budget.
I know many are concerned about international travel, both for holidays and business purposes. The Government have commissioned a review regarding the resumption of international travel, which will report by 12th April. I hope this report will provide further clarity and allow a form of overseas travel being possible from some point in May.
Finally, I recently received my first dose of the vaccine, I was impressed with the efficiency and dedication of our local NHS staff and volunteers and I would like to say thank you yet again to everyone who is working to combat this virus and keep people safe.