Lockdown Restrictions Could Stay In Place Until 31 March
The new laws which put England back into lockdown state that the rules can stay in place until 31 March
The five-page lockdown laws, which were published last night, say the lockdown could go on until 31 March.
MPs are set to vote on the law later today and it's incredibly likely it will pass.
When announcing the lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it could possibly be lifted around the middle of next month.
Schools have been told to stay closed until after the February half-term and universities and higher education institutions have switched to online only classes until 'the middle of February'.
Today, in a statement to the House of Commons, Johnson said the government would have to remain 'extremely cautious' about when things can begin to open back up.
He said: "When we begin to move out of lockdown I promise they [schools] will be the very first things to reopen.
"That moment may come after the February half-term, although we should remain extremely cautious about the timetable ahead.
"And as was the case last spring, our emergence from the lockdown cocoon will be not a big bang but a gradual unwrapping.
"That is why the legislation this House will vote on later today runs until 31 March.
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"Not because we expect the full national lockdown to continue until then, but to allow a steady, controlled and evidence-led move down through the tiers on a regional basis carefully brick-by-brick as it were breaking free of our confinement but without risking the hard-won gains that protections have given us.
"The restrictions will be kept under continuous review, with a statutory requirement to review every two weeks and a legal obligation to remove them if they are no longer deemed necessary to limit the transmission of the virus."
He added: "After the marathon of last year we are indeed now in a sprint, a race to vaccinate the vulnerable faster than the virus can reach them.
"Every needle in every arm makes a difference.
"As I say we are already vaccinating faster than any comparable country and that rate I hope will only increase.
"But if we're going to win this race for our population we have to give our army of vaccinators the biggest head start we possibly can.
"And that is why to do that we must once again stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives."
Yesterday Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said he can't 'predict with certainty' that the restrictions will be loosened or removed in the middle of February.
Speaking on Sky News, Gove said: "We can't predict with certainty that we'll be able to lift restrictions the week commencing the 15 to 22 [February].
"What we will be doing is everything we can to make sure that as many people as possible are vaccinated so that we can begin progressively to lift restrictions.
"I think it's right to say that, as we enter March, we should be able to lift some of these restrictions - but not necessarily all."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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