RESTRICTIONS LIFT: Calls for caution as roadmap milestone set to be announced
A Gateshead health boss has called for caution to avoid another surge of infections as coronavirus restrictions lift.
Boris Johnson is expected to announce today that England is proceeding to the next stage of his roadmap out of lockdown next week.
Under the next stage of the PM’s plan, expected to start on May 17, people will be able to meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors, while six people or two households can meet indoors.
The BBC reported that people are also likely to be allowed to stay overnight with those not in their household or bubble.
Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues such as cinemas and soft play areas are set to be permitted to reopen indoors.
This comes amid pressure on Mr Johnson to further speed up the easing of restrictions as the infection rate falls.
Alice Wiseman, Gateshead Council’s director of public health, said the country has “every reason to be optimistic” but that caution is needed to avoid another spike.
She said: “With the vaccination programme progressing well and the number of positive cases remaining low, we have every reason to be optimistic.
“However, we must proceed with caution to avoid another surge in infections like we saw when restrictions were eased last year.”
Ms Wiseman also said the gradual lifting of restrictions helps the authorities gather information to better understand the virus, which will help avoid further lockdowns in future.
She added: “Lifting restrictions gradually gives us the opportunity to monitor the impact of each step and give us a better understanding of how to keep the virus under control longer term, avoiding the need for further lockdowns in the future.
“We have all made so many sacrifices to reach this point and we can’t let them go to waste now. We must remain vigilant to the threat of new variants, continue with our testing and vaccination programmes and only ease restrictions further when the data tells us it is safe to do so.”
Words: Herbert Soden, Local Democracy Reporter
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