Welcome back! Did any of us think we would be writing about the virus a full year on?
I began penning my experiences about this dreaded virus back on 21st March 2020 (just two days before the first catalogued my first 100 days; then again after 200 days, and finally – or so I thought – after 300 days! Surely that one would my final missive? Those wiser than me (and there are many!) suggested that we will still be talking about it, and experiencing its impact, even after a year – and of course, they were right! 😮lockdown) and
The above posts of mine were reasonably optimistic, but this one is different – it’s VERY optimistic. Why is that? Well, as I write this, we’ve got a number of vaccines on offer – and there are more ton the way; the UK is leading the world (remember when we used to do that quite a bit?) with our vaccine-rollout and (as of yesterday) over 25 million UK citizens have had their FIRST jab. A total of 711,156 doses were given across the UK on Friday, and yesterday, 589,675 were given first doses and 121,481 their second.
UPDATED 7pm, Sunday: After I posted this morning, later in the day, the Government announced another record-breaking day for vaccinations – a total of 844,285 combined first and second doses! 👍👍
Just one exception on the good-news front – The ‘R’ rate is slightly up at 0.6-0.9, from 0.6-0.8, but apparently, that’s nothing to be concerned about.
The only obstacles appear to be twofold: a threatened vaccine-shortage from the 29th March, due to some laboratory problems in India, whilst across parts of Europe, they might have to enter a third Lockdown due to an increase in cases – and that’ll kill many holiday plans! 😬
As you can see, all the ‘crucial numbers’ seem to be pointing in the right direction (positive tests, death rate, hospital admissions and tests conducted etc) and the Government feels really confident about its recently released its four-stage roadmap ‘out of Lockdown’.
Roadmap Stage 1: from 29 March
The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. And this is why from 29 March, when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will also be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.
Business and activities
Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April.
Roadmap Stage 2: (no earlier than 12 April)
- All shops allowed to open, along with close-contact services, including hairdressers and beauty salons (including in people’s homes)
- Restaurants and pubs allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors
- Gyms and spas can reopen, as can zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres
- Members of the same household can take a holiday in the UK in self-contained accommodation
- Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place
Roadmap Stage 3: (no earlier than 17 May)
- People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors
- Six people or two households can meet indoors
- Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors
- Up to 30 people can attend weddings or other life events, like christenings
- Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas can open
- Indoor entertainment such as museums, theatres, cinemas and children’s play areas can open
- Performances and large events can restart, but with limits on audience numbers
- Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen
- International leisure travel may resume [providing Europe isn’t still in Lockdown]
- Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can restart
Roadmap Stage 4: (no earlier than 21 June)
- All legal limits on social contact will be removed
- No legal limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events
- Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen
Looking further ahead, the EU is due to reveal its COVID-19 travel certificate scheme, although that might be constrained by their threatened third Lockdown. Additionally, the over 50s have been invited to have their first jab.
The Government has boasted that ‘all UK adults should receive their first jab by the end of July’. If that works out, it really does feel (for the first time) that there is the beginning of the end to all of this – thankfully!
So, hopefully, if all goes to plan, I won’t be writing about the Coronavirus in the UK again! 🤔
Famous last words??? 🤔