Boris Johnson announcement: when is PM's speech on Covid lockdown roadmap - and what are rumoured exit plans?

The prime minister will detail England’s route out of lockdown this Monday

Friday, 19th February 2021, 12:00 pm
Boris Johnson will detail England's road map out of lockdown on February 22 (Getty Images)

Boris Johnson is set to unveil a ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown restrictions as cases in England continue to fall.

The country was placed under a third lockdown on January 4 with schools and non-essential businesses forced to close until at least mid-February.

Next week the prime minister will detail the country’s route out of lockdown restrictions from the return of schools to the reopening of pubs – here's what that might look like.

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When is Boris Johnson announcing road map?

Speaking on February 3 Boris Johnson said that a roadmap out of lockdown would be published on February 22.

He said: “On February the 22nd, we will be setting out in as much detail as we can about where we see the dates, what the timetable could be, the earliest dates by which we want to do what - you remember what we did last year - setting out a route map, we’ll do that again.”

How can I watch announcement?

There is no set time for the announcement yet but all Downing Street speeches made will be available to watch via BBC News.

Alternatively, you can also watch online through BBC iPlayer, and Sky News also has a live YouTube stream.

The road map will be published on gov.uk.

What will the road map look like?

The prime minister has said that the road map would be a “gradual” and phased lifting of restrictions.

Health Secretary underlined the government’s desire for caution saying that they wanted the third lockdown to be the country’s last.

The government has already voiced its intention to reopen schools on March 8, and it appears that education will take precedent over non-essential businesses.

Johnson said that no firm decision has been made on whether all pupils will return at the same time on March 8.

The reopening of non-essential businesses, including the hospitiality sector, will be the next priority alongside rules on outdoor socialising and recreation.

For now the government remain tight-lipped on what a road map out of lockdown will look like with a review of restrictions currently underway.

A Number 10 spokesperson said: "I can't pre-empt what's going to be in the road map or the details of the review this week.

"It will be the review this week that informs the decisions we make and what is contained in the road map on Monday, I can't pre-empt that."

What are rumoured exit plans?

Several media outlets have speculated on what a roadmap out of lockdown could look like.

The i say that a roadmap will begin with the reopening of schools on March 8 and then the government will assess the impact of their return on the rate of infection.

If the R rate remains low the prime minister will “give the green light to non-essential shops reopening towards the end of March” according to the i.

This would potentially be followed by the reopening of hospitality businesses, including hotels, restaurants and pubs in the week leading up to April 2.

There were a number of reports in the media on February 17 regarding the roadmap out of lockdown, which seem to suggest the Government is leaning toward a cautious approach.

The Telegraph reported that lockdown won’t be significantly eased until the number of new daily Covid cases drops below 1,000.

Speaking to the Telegraph, an unnamed senior Whitehall source said: “For any significant relaxation of lockdown, household mixing and reopening pubs, case numbers have to be in the hundreds, not thousands.”

However, the Government has reportedly been keen to quash these claims, with Politico’s Playbook reporting that a government official says the Telegraph story is “completely wrong”.

The government has also sought to downplay the veracity of claims in the Daily Mail today, which reports that different sectors will be opened in four week stages, with pubs and restaurants unlikely to reopen until May, and hotels back to normal by July.

The outlet also reports that the current work from home instruction will remain in place once the roadmap is unveiled.