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We are live as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to make a statement in Parliament explaining further details about changes to the coronavirus lockdown in the country.
Mr Johnson has been criticised for a lack of clarity in his key speech to the public last night, which set out how changes to the coronavirus restrictions on daily life will start to be lifted.
There has been a lot of confusion on issues such as people being encouraged to go back to work as well as who we may or may not be able to see.
This afternoon the government will publish a 50-page document with much more detail about the changes to the measures in place.
Following this, the Prime Minister will make a statement to the Commons and will face questions from his fellow MPs.
Later this evening Mr Johnson will also face some questions about his plans from members of the public.
We will bring you all the important updates and clarity you need on these important announcements.
Follow the action here.
- Boris Johnson speaking to Parliament now
- More contact with other people
- Phase two – schools
- Public space and meeting others
Starmer critical of plan
Labour leader Keir Starmer is asking questions now.
He’s pretty critical of the PM’s plan, particularly about the confusion around people going back to work.
He says yesterday this was said to be Monday, but today is said to be Wednesday.
He says there is a lack of safety guidance for those who are to return to work.
PM keen to warn that things could be reversed
Mr Johnson has been really keen throughout this statement to warn that any of these new measures could be reversed.
“If the data goes the wrong way, if the alert level rises we will not hesitate to reverse some of these measures”
What you can do and where
PM confirming some of that detail about what you can do and where
Schools – full story
Here is the full story on the return of schools
Avoid public transport
The PM again urges those who will be returning to work to avoid public transport.
Images from the Tube in London appear to show this already isn’t happening.
Withering review of the PM
Green MP Caroline Lucas is not impressed
Boris Johnson speaking to Parliament now
The Prime Minister is now speaking to Parliament and will then face questions from MPs.
He reaffirms that his plan for reducing the lockdown is ‘conditional’ and will only continue if the data supports it.
Phase three – Pubs, bars, restaurants
Step three – from July 4 at earliest
This step will involve opening some businesses and spaces that remain locked down.
This could include pubs, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, beauty salons, cinemas and places of worship.
Venues which are crowded by design and where it is difficult to operate social distancing may still not be able to safely reopen, or may only be able to partially reopen.
“Nevertheless the government will wish to open as many businesses and public places as the data and information at the time allows,” the document states.
There will also be pilots of higher-risk businesses and public spaces to test their ability to adopt Covid-19 secure guidelines.
More contact with other people
So the guidance states that from this Wednesday people can meet with one other person from a different household.
Naturally many will be wondering when we can be together with more family and friends in the future.
The guidance says that scientists on the government’s Sage committee have been asked to look at whether, when and how the rules can be changed to allow one household to expand its social group to include one other household exclusively in a group.
The government is also examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups to better facilitate small weddings.
Local public transport
The government says local public transport – such as Merseyrail and buses – will start to have more services brought back from the start of June.
But it is absolutely crucial that strict social distance measures are in place.
Premier League football
This is a big one for so many people in our city.
The new government guidance suggests that Premier League football could be back on TV screens from June.
While essential shops like those selling food have remained open during this crisis, many of course have closed down.
Phase 2 – from June 1 will see some non-essential shops reopen.
But hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants) and personal care (hairdressers nail salons) will not be able to open at this point.
Phase two – schools
Moving on to phase two of the government’s 50-page guide and a some clarification on the schools situation.
Boris Johnson touched on this last night in his speech, but there are more details in the document.
Step two kicks in from June 1.
This will bring with it a phased return for early years and schools.
Early years, reception, year 1 and year 6 children will be invited back to schools but in smaller class sizes.
Secondary schools and colleges should also prepare for face-to-face contact with year 10 and 12 pupils who have GCSE and A-Level exams next year.
The government wants to to return all primary school children to school for a month before summer but this will be kept under review.
Fines and enforcement
The document confirms that the government will impose higher fines on those breaching the rules and is considering other more stringent measures.
Here is the full story on these fines – and how they could rise for repeat offenders
Childcare and social bubble
Here is the full story on childcare and expanding your social bubble
Some important information in the new guidelines for vulnerable people.
People aged over 70 and with specific chronic conditions and pregnant women should continue to minimise contact with others “but do not need to be shielded”.
But those in the extremely vulnerable groups are “strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact.”
The guidance indicates that while some groups will be released from lockdown later down the line, the most vulnerable may need to shield for much longer.
More guidance on meeting people in public
Some more clarity on the situation with public spaces and meeting up with people.
Government has been briefing out that you will be allowed to go to the whole park with your entire household, not just for exercise, but to hang around and sunbathe.
And separately, you can meet a person from another household – as long as you maintain social distancing.
But you cannot combine the two things.
And you can play sport only with people from your household, as long as you observe social distancing.
Public space and meeting others
This is a big one for a lot of people who have been unable to see anyone except those in their households for the past seven weeks.
The new guidelines state that you can now meet up with a maximum of one person outside your own household – but this must be done at a safe distance of two metres.
People can exercise outdoors as many times a day as they want, including sport such as angling and tennis.
But team sports, playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues are still banned.
You will be allowed to drive to outdoor open spaces, wherever they may be, as long as you continue to observe social distancing guidance.
The plan states: “These measures may come with some risk; it is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date. The infection rate will increase if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, which will trigger the need for further restrictions.”
Face masks and coverings
The new government document has said, for the first time, that people should aim to where face masks if social distancing isn’t possible.
This could be on a trip to the shops or on public transport.
Home-made cloth coverings are said to be fine.
They don’t actually protect the person wearing them – but can stop you passing the virus on to someone else.
We are being told not to wear surgical masks as they should be reserved for health workers.
Children under two should not use face coverings and nor should people who may struggle to take them off – or those with respiratory conditions.
So this is still in phase one of the new rules, which means those coming in from this Wednesday.
This concerns Travel
The new guidance says that everyone, even frontline key workers, should try and avoid public transport if at all possible – encouraging people to cycle, walk or drive.
The government has already committed to spending an extra £2bn with councils to encourage wider pavements, pop-up cycle lanes and road closures in a bid to promote cycling and walking.
The document says that social distancing on public transport “must be followed rigorously”.
All international arrivals will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days, supply their contact and accommodation information, and strongly advised to download the NHS contact tracing app.
If they cannot demonstrate where they will self isolate they will be placed into government quarantine accommodation.
Hospital death toll nears 27,000
Away from the lockdown rules and there is another grim announcement from UK hospitals on Covid-19.
The UK’s coronavirus hospital death toll has risen again on Monday – taking the total to 26,769.
Another 209 patients have died in England, a further five patients have died in hospitals in Scotland, and five more patients have died in Wales.
Northern Ireland is yet to announce its latest figures.
School and childcare
Schools and childcare are obviously a big worry for lots of parents currently in lockdown.
The document says that councils and schools should encourage more vulnerable children and children of key workers to attend school, with just 2% of children currently doing so.
Paid childcare, including nannies and childminders, can now take place as long as it can meet the public health principles set out in the document.
Changes for workers
Ok so there was plenty of confusion following the Prime Minister’s speech about who should be going back to work.
He seemed to suggest some people in construction and manufacturing jobs should be going back in today, but that was muddied earlier when foreign secretary Dominic Raab said it was from Wednesday.
The document clarifies that these changes will be live from Wednesday.
The new rules
Workers who can should continue to work from home.
But all those who can’t work from home should travel to work, including those in food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories.
The paper states: “The only exceptions to this are those workplaces such as hospitality and non-essential retail which during this first step the government is requiring to remain closed.”
It says that workplaces should follow new “Covid-19 secure” guidelines which will be published this week.
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms must still self-isolate.Work:
Plan for return to life
The Prime Minister writes: ““I know the current arrangements do not provide an enduring solution – the price is too heavy, to our national way of life, to our society, to our economy, indeed to our long-term public health”
“So this plan seeks to return life to as close to normal as possible, for as many people as possible, as fast and fairly as possible.”
The government has now published its 50-page document, titled OUR PLAN TO REBUILD: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy
In the foreword, the prime minister makes clear it is “not a quick return to ‘normality’” but that it should give people “hope that we can rebuild; hope that we can save lives; hope that we can safeguard livelihoods”.
Johnson however warned that a vaccine or treatment may be more than a year away, or may not be produced at all, and so a plan must be put in place for “the long haul”.
More details on the lockdown to be published
We are expecting a 50-page document to be published in about five minutes, which will have much more detail on the changes to lockdown restrictions.
We will be looking out for the new information that people need to hear and getting that to you in our rolling coverage.
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