Prime Minister reveals plans to ease lockdown in national address

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AFTER almost two months of lockdown, Boris Johnson has set out what he called “the first sketch of a road map for reopening society”.

He said there would be more details in parliament tomorrow, Monday, and members of the public would be able to ask questions tomorrow evening.

The address to the nation was broadcast live on TV and revealed there would be a new Covid Alert System which would be determined mainly by the reinfection rate and the number of cases.

The alert levels will be one to five and the higher the level, the tougher social distancing measures will have to be.

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The PM said the UK had been in Level Four but “we are now in a position to begin to move in steps to Level Three”.

The new system will able to detect local flare-ups as well as the number of cases at a national level.

New work from home rules

From Monday, people who cannot work from home are being actively encouraged to go to work instead of being told to only go if they must.

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This includes manufacturing and construction work.

But they should avoid public transport if at all possible and were encouraged to walk or get to work by bike.

New outdoor rules

From Wednesday, people are being encouraged to take unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise and even play sports, but only with members of their household.

Visiting and sunbathing in local parks will also be allowed as will driving to other destinations.

But social distancing rules will still have to be obeyed with bigger fines for those who break them.

When schools and pubs could reopen

If the rate of infection doesn't increase, the PM said we could be in a position for schools to reopen by June 1 at the earliest along with the phased reopening of shops.

Initially this will mean the return of pupils in nurseries plus reception classes, year one and year six.

Remaining primary school year groups could be added at later dates.

But the only secondary school pupils likely to attend school in any form before September are pupils in years 10 and 12, who will be able to have some face-to-face time with teachers to support their home learning.

Government officials said the remaining secondary school age pupils in England would not be expected to return to school before the summer holidays.

Step three in July following further scientific advice it is hoped some pubs, restaurants, hotels and other public places could begin to reopen.

But only 'if the numbers support it'.

Boris Johnson ended his address by saying 'we will come back from this devilish illness' and be “stronger and better than ever before”.

“And though the UK will be changed by this experience, I believe we can be stronger and better than ever before,” he said.

“More resilient, more innovative, more economically dynamic, but also more generous and more sharing.

“But for now we must stay alert, control the virus and save lives.”