Boris Johnson will set out exact lockdown easing dates in roadmap

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Boris Johnson has confirmed the government will aim to provide target dates for sectors to reopen when he releases his roadmap out of lockdown next week.

The Prime Minister said the government will try to provide dates for when shops, hospitality and other sectors can open again.

Speaking to broadcasters in Kent, the Prime Minister said: "If we possibly can, we will be setting out dates.

"And just to help people think about what we're trying to do on February 22, remember what we did around about this time last year, or a little bit later – we set out a road map going forward into the summer looking a little bit beyond, that's what we're going to be trying to do.

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"The dates that we will be setting out will be the dates by which we hope we can do something at the earliest, if you see what I mean – so it's the target date by which we hope to do something at the earliest.

"If, because of the rate of infection, we have to push something off a little bit to the right, to lay it for a little bit, we won't hesitate to do that.

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"I think people would much rather see a plan that was cautious but irreversible and one that proceeds sensibly in accordance with where we are with the disease."

Ministers have said that reopening of schools is their first priority, but reports have suggested that a staggered approach may be taken, with secondary schools going back a week later than primaries.

Mr Johnson said: "No decisions have been taken on that sort of detail yet, though clearly schools on March 8 has for a long time been a priority of the Government and of families up and down the country."

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He said "we will do everything we can to make that happen", but cautioned that infection rates are still "comparatively high" and Covid-19 patients in the NHS remain higher than the April peak.

He said: "So we've got to be very prudent and what we wanted to see is progress that is cautious but irreversible and I think that's what the public and people up and down the country will want to see."

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