The government will publish a plan to lead the country out of its current Covid lockdown on 22 February, prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed.
Addressing the House of Commons on Wednesday (27 January), Johnson said progress towards normality would depend on the government and NHS meeting its 15 February target to vaccinate everyone in the four groups must vulnerable to Covid.
Johnson said the government’s hope was to review the country’s situation then, with a view to setting out the results of that review and a plan to "take the country out of lockdown" on 22 February.
"We remain in a perilous position," said the prime minister. "But the overall picture should be clearer by mid-February."
His comments came ahead of home secretary Priti Patel setting out full details of the government’s hotel quarantine plan for international arrivals, which Johnson touched on in his address.
Johnson said that over the coming weeks, the government would be able to assess the effects of the current lockdown, the impact it has had on the UK’s R-rate, as well as how effective the two Covid vaccines being rolled out are at blocking transmission of the virus.
"We will then be in a better position to chart a course out of lockdown," said Johnson.
The prime minister said the country’s emergence from lockdown would be gradual and phased, with reopening schools the priority – with a tentative 8 March date set for this should the government meet its 15 February vaccination target.
He offered no detail on what businesses, such as high street travel agents, could expect with regards to how the government plans to reopen the economy.