PM confirms lockdown set to ease on 17 May

The Prime Minister has confirmed that the easing of England’s lockdown restrictions will go ahead, claiming the data supported the decision.

As a result the UK’s covid alert level has been reduced from level four to level three, prior to the planned easing of lockdown on 17 May.

The joint decision was made by the Chief Medical Officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as cases, hospitalisations and deaths have all reduced significantly. This is all while the vaccine rollout has continued to progress.

The current alert level states the virus is still ‘in general circulation’, a step down from level four which is when transmission of the virus is ‘high or rising exponentially’.

Medical officers have credited the success of the UK’s vaccine rollout to the reduction in cases.

The chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as NHS England national medical director Stephen Powys said in a statement:

“Thanks to the efforts of the UK public in social distancing, and the impact we are starting to see from the vaccination programme, case numbers, deaths and Covid hospital pressures have fallen consistently.

“However Covid is still circulating, with people catching and spreading the virus every day so we all need to continue to be vigilant. This remains a major pandemic globally.

“It is very important that we all continue to follow the guidance closely and everyone gets both doses of the vaccine when they are offered it.”

Indoor gatherings, hugs and no masks in schools

The Prime Minister finished his statement by saying that the threats of Covid are “significantly reduced” but there are still some “residual issues” that need to be kept a close eye on, reiterating his words that “we need to go carefully and steadily”.

From the 17th May, people will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people, and meet indoors in groups of up to six or as two households, overnight stays will also be allowed across the country.

The majority of sectors will reopen, including pubs, bars and restaurants indoors. Indoor entertainment will resume, including cinemas, museums and children’s play areas.

Theatres, concert halls, conference centres and sports stadia can all reopen, with larger events in these settings able to resume with capacity limits.

Organised adult sport and exercise classes can resume indoors and saunas and steam rooms may reopen.