Published: 07:07, 17 February 2021
| Updated: 10:00, 17 February 2021
Lockdown is unlikely to be eased significantly until daily Covid cases drop to hundreds a day compared to the current level of more than 10,000, it was reported today.
The Government is also likely to continue to urge people to work from home if they can even when restrictions begin to be eased.
The Telegraphsays Boris Johnson’s promised roadmap next week will commit to reopening of schools from March 8, but will not give a similar promise for the other areas of life.
Instead, it will outline plans for a series of reviews which would see the reopening of shops, pubs and restaurants hit levels not seen since August.
Covid cases have fallen sharply in recent weeks and could fall below 1,000 by April if the decline continues at the same rate - although it is predicted the reopening of schools may impact the figures.
A Whitehall source told the Telegraph: “The numbers are coming down quite fast but the plan is likely to be high level and set out the tests that have to be met for restrictions to be released. There is real reluctance to commit to dates without knowing what the case numbers are doing.”
This suspected approach was confirmed by an article in The Mail, predicting leisure businesses may not return to ‘broadly normal’ until July.
The blueprint being discussed by ministers and industry leaders would allow restrictions to be lifted only at four week intervals.
The Prime Minister is not expected to set a firm date when people currently working remotely can expect to return to the office.
It means the ‘work from home if you can’ message will continue to be used for the foreseeable future.
It comes as KentOnline reports how some GPs are concerned that employers are not allowing their staff time off in the day to receive Covid jabs.
Some Tory MPs have been pushing the PM for a firmer date when people are expected to return to their desks, warning of lost productivity.
The Times, meanwhile, reports the Government is planning a mass testing blitz, with more than 400,000 lateral flow tests sent to homes and workplaces every day.
A campaign provisionally called ‘Are you ready? Get testing. Go’ will begin before schools return, to encourage people to have tests even when they don’t have symptoms.
The Financial Times, meanwhile, reports some British companies are preparing to draw up ‘no jab, no job’ contracts for employees as the Government admitted it was up to employers if they wanted employers to hold vaccination passports.
The UK recorded 10,625 Covid cases and 799 deaths in the latest daily figures.