Lockdown ‘won’t be eased until cases drop below 1,000-a-day’

The former health secretary and current chair of the Health Select Committee told the newspaper ministers should listen “very carefully” to the scientific advice and aim to suppress the virus enough to allow a “South Korean-style approach” of intensive contact tracing to be possible.

Lockdown restrictions will not be eased until daily coronavirus cases are below 1,000, while leisure and UK tourism could be “broadly normal” by July, according to reports.

The prime minister is expected to reveal his roadmap out of England’s third national lockdown on Monday, including details of how social-distancing measures will gradually be eased.

According to the Daily Telegraph, next week’s announcement is unlikely to reveal a specific timetable for lifting the current restrictions, however they will probably not be eased until new daily infections fall below 1,000, the newspaper reports.

This echoes comments made by Jeremy Hunt in an interview with The Guardian earlier this month, when he warned against lifting lockdown measures until cases fall to 1,000 a day.

The Daily Mail, by contrast, has revealed a “blueprint” for easing restrictions in England’s leisure and hospitality sector.

According to the newspaper, ministers are considering allowing self-catering holiday lets and larger hotels to open from April, followed by pubs and restaurants in May, with two households allowed to mix indoors and the rule of six applying outside.

By June, those rules will expand to allow the rule of six indoors, the newspaper reports, while leisure and domestic tourism will allegedly be “broadly” back to normal by July.

The roadmap being discussed by ministers will only allow restrictions to be lifted in stages at four-week intervals, the newspaper added.

The Times, meanwhile, has revealed the government is toying with the idea of launching a new campaign provisionally called “Are you ready? Get testing. Go.”

The scheme would involve more than 400,000 rapid lateral flow tests being posted to homes and workplaces each day as restrictions are eased to help the country get to a “new normal”, the newspaper says.

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