COVID-19 vaccinations for young children now expected to start later this month
The number of people waiting to be tested has jumped by nearly 200 per cent
The government has delayed the implementation of a controversial social distancing measure until the end of the year, in favour of a review and a second look.
The UK will now move from Level 4 lockdown to Level 5, meaning social distancing measures will remain in place for the time being, with the government aiming to take the country back to “full life” by lifting the lockdown by the end of the year.
However, it will be a period of much uncertainty for businesses, with the government working to get through the lockdown as quickly as possible.
As we have reported, government offices are to be forced out of lockdown, while stores, shops and other businesses will be allowed to stay open, as long as they follow self-isolation protocols.
All pubs, restaurants, cafes, bars, supermarkets and other shops and businesses that are not essential services are to be forced to close.
Businesses will be permitted to conduct business as normal, with the government taking advice from the independent health watchdog, Public Health England (PHE), and social services. It is unclear what they will allow, though it has been speculated that only essential services will be able to open.
“The UK has already passed all the tests – the lockdown measures and the response to the pandemic,” a Downing Street spokesperson said. “After today’s approval there will no doubt be a huge range of changes in the economy as we work to re-open and restart the economy. Over the next few weeks the whole country will be making decisions about our economic future.”
The government will also look at extending the lockdown to include non-essential retail, as required by social services, police and the NHS. However, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth said the measures being put in place by the government did not go far enough.
“Today’s announcement by the government is a major blow