Johnson calls for caution as England takes first big step outside Coronavirus lockdown

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Boris Johnson will stress the need for people to be careful on Monday as England take their first major step towards easing lockdown restrictions for adults.

People will now be able to legally meet outdoors in groups of six or in two households, including in private gardens, and organized outdoor sport can resume.

With the easing of restrictions comes the launch of a government advertising campaign that makes it clear why mixing indoors with people from other households is still considered risky. In an unusual move, as part of the campaign, the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) is releasing advice from a psychologist on how people can resist pressure from friends and relatives to violate laws. rules.

In a statement released overnight, Johnson said: “We need to remain cautious, with cases on the rise across Europe and new variants threatening the rollout of our vaccines. Despite today’s easements, everyone must continue to abide by the rules.

Johnson is expected to expand on the message at a Monday afternoon press conference, for the first time using the new media suite installed at 9 Downing Street at a cost of £ 2.6million.

While some press coverage presented a first step on the road to release from the lockdown on Monday, such language was particularly lacking in the statement Johnson released overnight. A # 10 source said, “This one in particular, there’s a lot of caution and doing things incrementally, so that we can assess the data on the changes we’re making, and be sure we’re not going. not have to go back.

The first move to ease the lockdown in England came on March 8, when schools reopened. But for most adults, the impact was limited as the only rule change with wide application was to allow people to meet another person outside for drinks or exercise.

The changes that go into effect on Monday will have much more impact, allowing for a greater amount of outdoor socializing.

Although parts of England are ready for sunny weather at the start of the week, ministers fear that many outdoor meetings could easily end indoors. Television commercials that premiered on Monday night will illustrate why this makes the risk of coronavirus transmission much higher.

Realizing that many people find it difficult to resist peer pressure to be in a large group or to go indoors with people from another household, DHSC released an overnight statement from Laverne. Antrobus, a clinical psychologist, advising people on how to resist.

« [The new guidance] can mean being put in situations where you have to refuse to join a large group of more than six people, or maybe feel like you have to go inside with people outside of your bubble, ”Antrobus said, of Family Mental Health from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation. team.

“It is so important to set your limits and assert yourself in these situations, and to continue to follow the advice to protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus.”

She also informs people that they “can say no” and that they should plan meetings carefully. The ministry is also encouraging Antrobus to give media interviews this week to bring the same message home.

As part of Johnson’s roadmap to lift the lockdown restriction, the second step, allowing the reopening of stores, gyms and outdoor hospitality, is scheduled for April 12; the third stage, allowing meetings within a maximum of six, or two households and overnight stays, is scheduled for May 17; and the fourth step, involving the lifting of all legal limits on social contacts, is scheduled for June 21.

These are meant to be ‘not before’ dates, which could be postponed if the Covid situation deteriorates, but this point is not often emphasized by ministers.

Johnson will also announce on Monday that the Office of Health Promotion is being created to address obesity and poor mental health.

Modeled on programs such as the Singapore Health Promotion Council, it will be responsible for tackling the major preventable risk factors causing death and health problems in England. But there will be no additional funding for the office, which will be funded from the existing health budget.

The government reported 19 more coronavirus deaths in the UK on Sunday, with the seven-day total of deaths falling 32% from the previous week. There were 3,862 new cases reported, and the weekly total was down 2% from the previous week.

With 423,852 people in the UK receiving their first dose of the vaccine on Saturday, more than 30 million people have now had their first vaccine – around 57% of all UK adults. And 3.5 million people, or 6% of the adult population, have now received their second dose.

On Sunday, the government confirmed that the Moderna vaccine will begin delivery in the UK next month, joining the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines already in use.

Britain has ordered 17 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, which has a 94% efficacy rate in trials, and the initial supply has been reported to number in the hundreds of thousands.

Professor Adam Finn, member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, said the arrival of Moderna supplies would help, but not be a game-changer. He explained, “It adds an extra string to our bow if you want it and it gives us an extra safety line. But this is not a profoundly different change of direction. “

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