UK PM to reveal more details on lockdown changes

Boris Johnson said the government would "modify" lockdown measures over three "careful" steps through to July

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will reveal more details on his plans to reopen society, after unveiling the "first sketch" of his "road map" out of the coronavirus lockdown, a media report said on Monday.

On Monday, Johnson will answer questions from MPs and is also set to give a statement, with more information expected on the new COVID-19 Alert System, use of face masks, and the return of professional football, said the BBC report.

Taking questions from the public

He will take the questions from the public in the evening. This development comes hours after Johnson addressed the nation on Sunday night about the ongoing lockdown measures which were imposed in the country in the wake of the pandemic.

In his address, Johnson announced a "conditional plan" to reopen society, allowing people in England to spend more time outdoors from Wednesday. He also said people who could not work from home, including those in the manufacturing and construction industries, should return to the workplace from Monday but avoid public transport.

 British counterpart Boris Johnson
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson IANS

Johnson said the government would "modify" lockdown measures over three "careful" steps through to July. The COVID-19 Alert System with five levels will influence how quickly the lockdown could be changed. Level five is the most critical, and the UK is currently ready to move from level four to three.

Possible phased reopening of shops

The first step will allow people to take unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise, sit or sunbathe in parks and play sports with household members from Wednesday. The changes in guidelines will also allow two people from different households to meet in a park if they stay two metres apart.

Johnson hoped by the second step - "at the earliest by June 1" - there could be a phased reopening of shops and some primary aged pupils could return to school, the BBC reported. The third step could see some hospitality businesses and other public places reopen - "if the numbers support it" - but not earlier than July 1.

The Prime Minister stressed this was all "conditional" on a series of "big ifs" and he would not hesitate to "put on the brakes" if there are further outbreaks of the virus. Johnson als said that he had consulted "across the political spectrum, across all four nations of the UK" and that his plan was a "a general consensus on what we could do".

Refused to adopt England's new message

But the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - which have their own powers over lockdown measures - have refused to adopt England's new message of "stay alert, control the virus, save lives", said the BBC report.

Also, union leaders and business groups have criticised the plans, and called for further clarity. The National Education Union (NEU) said the idea that some schools could reopen from June 1 was "nothing short of reckless" as the infection rate is still "far too great". As of Monday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the UK has increased to 220,449, with 31,930 deaths, the highest fatalities across Europe.

Related topics : Coronavirus