Coronavirus: Boris Johnson confirms next stage of lockdown opening, travel restrictions and vaccine passports
Author: Joel Griffiths | Tuesday 6th April 2021
On Monday evening, the Prime Minister confirmed the reopening of non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality next week.
Boris Johnson has tweeted that the current roadmap to freedom, which culminates with all restrictions being lifted by June 21, will hopefully be "irreversible".
We set out our roadmap and we’re sticking to it.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 5, 2021
It is by being cautious, by monitoring the data at every stage, and by following the rules – remembering hands, face, space and fresh air – that we hope together to make this roadmap to freedom irreversible. pic.twitter.com/EQM74Muu3p
The easing of COVID restrictions is dictated by whether four official tests – a successful vaccine deployment programme, coronavirus hospitalisation and death rates under control, infections not putting pressure on the NHS, and the risk assessment not changed by variants – are met.
The Prime Minister also spoke about foreign travel, saying the earliest holidays can be permitted is still May 17.
Mr Johnson said: "Obviously we are hopeful that we can get going from May 17, we are hopeful.
"But I do not wish to give hostages to fortune or to underestimate the difficulty we are seeing in some of the destination countries people might want to go to.
"We don't want to see the virus being reimported into this country from abroad.
"Plainly, there is a surge in other parts of the world and we have to be to be mindful of that and we have to be realistic."
He added: "I know that people watching will want to know exactly what they can do from May 17 but we're not there yet."
Under a traffic light system that we now know will be used, assessments will be based on the proportion of a country's population which has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants and the country's access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.
Travellers arriving from countries rated "green" will not be required to isolate although pre-departure and post-arrival tests will still be needed.
For people who have been in countries classed as "amber" or "red", arrivals will be required to isolate or enter quarantine.
A government document released during the 5pm news conference says: "For the moment, the government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer."
When asked about the highly speculated vaccine passports, which are expected to come into force only after every person has been offered a jab, he had this to say:
"The principle of requiring some people to have a certificate to prove they are not passing on the disease, like surgeons who have to prove they are vaccinated against Hep B or whatever, that can be a sensible one," Mr Johnson told a press conference.
"But I want to stress that we are some way off finalising any plans for COVID certification in the UK.
"The crucial thing is for everyone to get out and get their vaccination when you're asked to come forward and get your second dose when you are asked to come forward.
"The uptake at the moment is fantastic and that is very important that it should continue.
"We are seeing something like 99 point – I can't remember what it is – 99.7% uptake for the second doses which is terrific and that's what we want to see."