New Lockdown Will Last Until At Least March, Michael Gove Says
Michael Gove has suggested the third national lockdown might not be eased until March, despite Boris Johnson announcing a review would take place in mid-February.
On Monday evening, January 4, Johnson announced the lockdown and said he hoped the country would only remain under the strictest restrictions for around six weeks, by which time England should be able to ‘steadily’ move out of lockdown.
However, Gove has suggested the lockdown restrictions could last longer, saying, ‘as we enter March, we should be able to lift some of the restrictions, but not necessarily all’.
‘It’s important to stress that we want to progressively lift restrictions, but what we need to do is to make sure as many people as possible – especially the vulnerable first – are vaccinated. We will be able to review the progress we’ve made on the 15th of February, just before the traditional school half term,’ he said, the Evening Standard reports.
‘We hope that we will be able to progressively lift restrictions after that but what I can’t do is predict – nobody can predict – with accuracy exactly what we will be able to relax and when,’ Gove told Sky News.
‘What we do know is that the more effective our vaccination programme, the more people who are protected in that way, the easier it will be to lift these restrictions,’ he added.
However, he did add that ministers cannot predict ‘with certainty’ whether the measures will be lifted from mid-February, as suggested by the prime minister.
‘We will keep these constantly under review but you are absolutely right… we can’t predict with certainty that we will be able to lift restrictions in the week commencing February 15-22,’ he continued.
I think it is right to say that as we enter March we should be able to lift some of these restrictions but not necessarily all.
When asked for clarification on whether he believes the country may still be in full lockdown by March, Gove stressed that it will take ‘some time immediately after the vaccination for people to get the benefit of full immunity’.
‘What we will be doing is everything we can to make sure that as many people as possible are vaccinated so that we can begin progressively to lift restrictions,’ Gove said.
As of today, January 5, everyone in England is urged to stay at home, only leaving under specific circumstances, with the exception of keyworkers.