Two million shielding from coronavirus can see family from August 1 – but it could restart anytime, Boris confirms

TWO million people shielding from coronavirus will be able to go back to their normal lives – but the measures could be reintroduced at any time, the PM announced today.

Boris Johnson said this morning the formal shielding program would come to an end on August 1, and those who haven't been able to leave home can return to their lives.

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The PM laid out a roadmap for Britain to return to "near normal" including encouraging people to get back to the office and ending the shielding program.

He said: "We have said that the shielding programme for those most at risk in England, the clinically extremely vulnerable, will be paused at the end of this month.

"We will stay constantly vigilant and be sure to restart shielding at any point if required."

Infections in the UK are current decreasing by between -5% to -1% meaning the nationwide outbreak is falling every day.

The Prime Minister added that the Government was taking every precaution: "Now I know some will say this plan is too optimistic, that the risks are too great and that we won’t overcome the virus in time. 

"And of course, if they are right in saying that, and we cannot exclude that they are, let me reassure them, and reassure you: that we will not hesitate at any stage to put on the brakes."

The new measures announced today include:

  • Handing councils powers to shut pubs and cafés without going to Government first through "lightning lockdowns"
  • Giving the NHS an extra £3billion so hospitals are "battle ready" for winter
  • Setting a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of October
  • Putting a time frame on social distancing so the nation can finally have a hug

Infection rates are so low that the Government has also said people can now travel by public transport safely – but it is advised people take other means of transport, or walk or cycle, where possible.

Relaxed rules

The relaxed guidelines from August 1 will mean people can go to shops, restaurants, places of worship and attend work if it is Covid-secure.

Those included on the “clinically extremely vulnerable” list include people with severe respiratory disease, organ transplants and some types of cancer.

Mr Hancock said earlier this month that shielding was "vital" in saving lives.

He added: "Now, with infection rates continuing to fall in our communities, our medical experts have advised that we can now ease some of these measures, while keeping people safe.”

The PM said he hoped Britain would be able to get back to normal by Christmas time and allow families to gather.

He said: "It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November at the earliest – possibly in time for Christmas."

The Prime Minister also said he would be ploughing an extra £3billion into the NHS to ready it in case there is a second outbreak in winter.

Local authorities were given extra powers to introduce "lightning lockdowns" which will enable them to swiftly close down areas where there are flare ups.

He said: "From tomorrow, local authorities will have new powers in their areas.

"They will be able to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces, and cancel events.

"These powers will enable local authorities to act more quickly in response to outbreaks, where speed is paramount."


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