Boris Johnson will reveal more detail on his plans to reopen society in England, after unveiling the “first sketch” of his “road map” out of the coronavirus lockdown. The PM will answer questions from MPs and then the public on Monday while No 10 will publish its 50-page official guidance in Parliament. Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer criticised the PM’s plan for lacking clarity. It comes as Scotland and Wales rejected No 10’s new “stay alert” slogan. In Sunday’s televised address to the nation, Mr Johnson announced a “conditional plan” to reopen society, allowing people in England to spend more time outdoors from Wednesday.
Boris Johnson “actively encouraged” the nation to get back to work as he unveiled a three-step “road map to recovery” from the coronavirus lockdown on Sunday night. The Prime Minister said anyone who cannot work from home should now go to work under his plan to “restore the freedoms that we need”. Pupils in primary school years one, six and reception, together with nurseries, will go back on June 1 if the virus remains in retreat, but secondary schools will remain closed until September. There will also be a phased reopening of non-essential shops next month, while cafes and restaurants with open-air seating, as well as churches and cinemas could be allowed limited opening in July, subject to strict conditions.
Boris Johnson urged the country to go back to work from today as he finally set out his tentative three-stage ‘exit plan’ from coronavirus lockdown – but sparked confusion with families still unable to meet despite colleagues being given the green light. In a TV address to the nation from Downing Street as the UK’s united front threatens to crumble, the PM paid tribute to the ‘sacrifice’ of Britons in reining in the killer disease, and insisted the government’s top priority is to ensure those efforts are not ‘thrown away’.
Boris Johnson urged the country to take its first tentative steps out of lockdown this week in an address to the nation that was immediately condemned as being divisive, confusing and vague. In a speech from Downing Street, Johnson said if the circumstances were right, schools in England and some shops might be able to open next month, and the government was “actively encouraging” people to return to work if they cannot do so from home.
People in England can sunbathe in parks and enjoy unlimited exercise from this Wednesday under changes to the UK coronavirus lockdown measures. Since March 23 exercise outside the confines of the home has been limited to just once a day and for no more than one hour a day. This must be either alone or with members of the same household. In the Prime Minister’s highly anticipated address to the nation this evening, he encouraged people to spend time outdoors for leisure purposes, as long as they are socially distanced from others.
Boris Johnson has set Britain on the first tentative steps to “reopening society” with a road map out of lockdown. The prime minister urged people last night to “go to work if you can’t work from home” and said that the time had come to begin restarting the economy. In a televised address he laid out a three-month plan to reopen primary schools, shops and outdoor cafés. Mr Johnson warned that every move was conditional on containing transmission rates, but faced a backlash from union leaders and some businesses over the lack of detail in the road map.
Boris Johnson has been accused of spreading confusion over Britain’s fight against coronavirus as he split with devolved governments over lockdown advice. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland rejected his decision to ditch the “stay home” advice in favour of new guidance to “stay alert, control the virus, save lives”. In a recorded TV address to the nation, the prime minister set out limited relaxations of lockdown rules which will apply in England only. He promised “the first sketch of a roadmap for reopening society”.
Boris Johnson has tonight announced the first steps to easing the lockdown he imposed seven weeks ago to deal with coronavirus. People in England will be allowed to exercise more than once a day, sit and sunbathe in parks and on beaches, and go for a drive from Wednesday. But the vast majority of rules imposed on March 23 remain in place – as Mr Johnson warned “this is not the time simply to end the lockdown this week.” Schools and all non-essential shops will remain shut until at least June, with pubs expected to be closed beyond July.
The risk of coronavirus for the young is “staggeringly low”, the UK’s top statistician has said – as he condemned the government’s “embarrassing” handling of Covid-19. Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, chairman of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge, said he was concerned that the public’s anxiety ought to be “roughly proportional to the risks they face”. He made withering criticisms of the Government’s handling of the crisis, saying its treatment of statistics was “not trustworthy” and amounted to “number theatre” rather than an attempt to properly inform the public. The statistician said it was “extraordinary” that we still do not know roughly how many Britons have contracted the virus, because sampling of the public only began late last month.
Proposals to release some offenders from prison earlier than planned have been shelved by the government. The change was due before the House of Commons on Tuesday where it faced opposition from a number of Tory MPs. But a Whitehall source told the BBC it was no longer necessary as the coronavirus outbreak has eased pressure on the prison system with fewer cases going to the courts. Inmates could still be released under the COVID early release scheme. The government proposal would have seen offenders in England and Wales who meet certain criteria – including serving a sentence of less than four years – eligible for release 180 days early under the Home Detention Curfew scheme instead of the current 135 days.
The lockdown has been rendered unenforceable by “reckless and irresponsible” advance briefings about a relaxation of the rules, police chiefs told The Times. Senior officers revealed breaches all over the country at the weekend, with daytrippers travelling to beauty spots, friends gathering in parks and socially distanced street parties spilling into houses. The hot weather was a factor, but members of the public were also encouraged by briefings from anonymous officials about the relaxation of lockdown before last night’s announcement by Boris Johnson.
Boris Johnson eased several lockdown restrictions this evening, telling Britons they can exercise as much as they want to and drive anywhere, reducing the pressure on police – but the PM failed to mention when families will be able to reunite. Addressing the nation, the Prime Minister announced that, from Wednesday, Britons will be allowed sunbathe in parks, drive to other destinations and even play sports – though only with members of their own households. Strict social distancing measures will continue to remain in place – with even harsher fines for those who breach them.
Boris Johnson has revealed schools will start to reopen from June 1 ‘at the earliest’ as he outlined his plan to lift the coronavirus lockdown last night – though teaching unions immediately slammed the proposal as ‘reckless’. The PM said pupils in reception, Year 1 and Year 6 will be the first to go back from the start of next month as part of a staged process. Nurseries would also be covered in the initial phase and the hope is that all primary school children would return to class by the summer. Secondary school students who have exams next year will be given time with teachers before the summer holidays but most will not be back until September.
PRIMARY school pupils should start to return in phases from next month but children at secondaries will be out until at least September. Nurseries, reception year kids, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils will be the first to return after the summer half term, Boris Johnson said last night. The PM said the move would be axed if the “R” reproduction rate of coronavirus was too high. The Government wants to get all primary pupils back by the summer holidays. Early year pupils are seen as especially important as they are at a key learning stage. Ministers also want to help their parents get back to work.
Boris Johnson has announced primary schools pupils in England in reception, year one and year six, will begin returning to school by 1 June at the earliest, if the rate of infection continues to fall. As he stuck with the vast majority of restrictions on public life for the time being, the prime minister said “step two” of the government’s potential relaxation of the lockdown involved the partial reopening of schools. It comes after the government reluctantly ordered the closure of schools, colleges and nurseries on 18 March – just days before the full lockdown was imposed to combat the spread of coronavirus.
REOPENING schools too early during the current pandemic would be “crazy” and could cause a surge in deaths, forcing Britain back into full lockdown again, a group of scientists warned today. The Bradford Science Collective, formed “to counter government propaganda about the coronavirus, untainted by political influence,” gave the warning in its first public statement. The collective involves scientists from Yorkshire universities, and was founded by Professor John Baruch of Leeds and Bradford universities.
Shopping destinations saw their largest ever decline in footfall last month as shoppers stayed at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to new figures. Springboard’s latest monthly footfall monitor revealed a “decline of unprecedented magnitude” in April, as the number of people at retail sites plummeted by 80.1%. The slump was almost double the level of the downturn in March, which posted 41.3% decline as the lockdown came into force part-way through the month. Retail parks were the least affected by the lockdown restrictions in April, the report said, but still saw footfall dive by 68.1%.
A Saturday-style service will be introduced to the rail network next week, with passengers required to book in advance for intercity trains and face waits of up to two hours to travel out of large cities. Rail operators have been told to prepare for a significant increase in the number of trains from next Monday, two months after services were wound down because of the pandemic. The move is likely to provoke a battle with Britain’s rail unions. The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) insisted that its members would be told “not to work” if it is deemed unsafe. Some 70 per cent of trains are expected to run during the working week compared with less than half now.
Boris Johnson has told returning workers to stay safe by avoiding public transport and instead commute by walking or cycling. The Prime Minister last night gave the green light to Britons unable to work from home to start heading back to their offices from tomorrow. But his plan counts on people staying off Tubes, trains and buses where they risk becoming infected. Addressing the nation from Downing Street, the PM said: ‘We want it to be safe for you to get to work.
ARRIVALS at airports will be forced to quarantine for 14 days under Boris Johnson’s plan to exit the lockdown. The PM tonight revealed his “first careful steps” of easing the coronavirus lockdown to get life back to normal. And he confirmed reports that people arriving in the UK will be quarantined for two weeks to stop a second coronavirus wave. No1o said they were still working out the detail on whether the quarantine would include arrivals by port or Channel Tunnel. Speaking to the nation, Boris said: “To prevent re-infection from abroad, 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.”
Emmanuel Macron has threatened to impose a two-week quarantine on Britons visiting France, after the Government announced it had similar plans that could begin as early as next month. Mr Johnson said on Sunday the Government would impose a fortnight’s quarantine on air passengers arriving in the UK. But Mr Macron said any quarantine applied to people travelling from France would also be imposed on Britons visiting France, resulting in a two-week quarantine either side of the Channel for tourists attempting as little as a day trip.
The number of coronavirus cases is once again on the rise in Germany just days after the country began easing additional lockdown measures, according to Saturday’s report from the country’s public health agency. German police, meanwhile, said more than 130 people were detained when protests turned violent in Berlin and other cities on Saturday. Thousands took to the streets across the country to demand the lockdown, which has been in place since mid-March, be lifted even quicker. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s federal disease control and prevention agency, said in its daily bulletin Saturday that the country’s reproduction (R) rate, which measures the number of people each confirmed COVID-19 patient now infects, has risen to 1.1, Reuters reported.
Coronavirus infections are accelerating in Germany and politicians are warning that lockdown restrictions will have to be tightened to stop a second wave of the pandemic. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control released figures showing that the number of people infected by each new case had increased to a reproduction, or R, rate of 1.1. The increase, above the stable level of an R rate of 1, is a sign of a potential acceleration in infections after the country eased restrictions last week. Easing the lockdown measures last Wednesday, when the R rate was 0.65, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, warned of an “emergency brake” on eased restrictions if the disease took hold again.
South Korea’s capital closed down more than 2,100 bars and other nightspots Saturday because of a new cluster of coronavirus infections, Germany scrambled to contain fresh outbreaks at slaughterhouses, and Italian authorities worried that people were getting too friendly at cocktail hour during the country’s first weekend of eased restrictions. The new flare-ups – and fears of a second wave of contagion – underscored the dilemma authorities face as they try to reopen their economies.
Germany’s coronavirus reproduction rate – the crucial measure shows how widely the virus is spreading in the community – has risen to 1.1, giving rise to fears that a second wave of infections may be imminent. The findings come just days after the country begun the first phase of relaxing its coronavirus lockdown measures, while anti-lockdown protests have been building across the country. Germany has been lauded internationally for its coordinated response to the virus and its corresponding low death rate, with 7,549 having fallen victim to the disease there until Saturday, compared with 31,587 in the UK, which has a much smaller population.
Spain’s daily coronavirus death toll fell yesterday to the lowest in seven weeks, as about half the country began to emerge further from one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns. The first phase of easing the lockdown will include allowing people in selected areas to move around their localities. Gatherings of up to ten people will be allowed but social distancing measures must continue to be respected. Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister, confirmed yesterday that there had been 143 deaths during the previous 24 hours, down dramatically from the peak of 900 last month.
France has called for “vigilance” after uncovering two coronavirus “clusters” in supposedly low-infection “green” areas a day before easing lockdown nationwide. The first cluster in was detected in Dordogne, southwestern France, after throngs attended a funeral, and another in the Vienne, western France, among school staff who had met to prepare re-opening a lower secondary school. After two months of draconian confinement, France is on Monday due to begin easing confinement restrictions, with 400,000 businesses re-opening along with most shops and nursery and primary schools.
CNN and the Sydney Morning Herald ask: “Where did it go wrong for the UK on coronavirus?” Reuters investigates why the UK left “its weakest exposed” in care homes. My own newspaper, La Repubblica, acknowledged the “grave errors” made in Italy, but observed that the “confusion and contradictions displayed by the British government in the past few months have few equals”. The way the world is looking at the UK is not the way the UK is looking at itself. Despite becoming the worst-hit country in Europe, Boris Johnson is enjoying the peak of his popularity curve, according to a latest Edelman poll. Moreover, in the last couple of days, this record death toll has often been pushed out of the front pages by other splashes (the likely relaxation of the lockdown or Neil Ferguson’s resignation).
A cargo ship unloaded 79 migrants to the island of Sicily as Italy sees a rise in illegal immigration and the European Union border agency Frontex warns of a surge of migrants heading toward Greece. The cargo vessel Marina dropped off another 79 migrants at the town of Porto Empedocle on Friday after they were picked up in the search area off the coast of Malta on May 3rd. The landing of the migrants came despite orders from the town’s mayor Ida Carmina given on April 10th that the town’s ports would be closed to migrant transport vessels, newspaper Il Giornale reports. “First aid will be guaranteed to migrants and then they will be taken away,”
No pupils excluded from state schools in more than a dozen areas managed to pass GCSE maths and English, a report to be released today shows. Not a single teenager in the past three years in 13 local authority areas had passed the core subjects. The report, shared with The Times by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), revealed a north-south divide: only one in 50 excluded pupils achieved a basic GCSE pass in maths and English in the northeast of England compared with one in 12 in outer London.