UK coronavirus lockdown: Ministers outline Covid-19 exit plan

Staggered office starts, localised restrictions and one-way queuing all on the cards

Staggered office start times, one way queuing systems in train stations and localised lockdowns are likely to form part of the Government’s “roadmap” to ease the strict Covid-19 restrictions, ministers have said.

Boris Johnson is due to unveil his plans to begin adjusting the stringent social distancing measures later this week as he attempts to coax the public out of their homes and to restart the economy without sparking a resurgence of the virus.

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Michael Gove speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19).Michael Gove speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19).
Michael Gove speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19).
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Last night, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove told the daily Downing Street press conference: "Ultimately, unless and until we have a vaccine then I suspect that we are going to have to live with some degree of constraint because of the nature of the virus.

"But we obviously want to, wherever possible, and consistent with the measures on public health, restore people's lives to as close to normal as possible."

He said the Government will pursue a "phased approach" to removing lockdown restrictions rather than a sudden return to "the old normal" - and that the easing had to be done in a "cautious fashion".

NHS England's national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said it was "really difficult" to know how the virus would play out in the months and years ahead.

He said there was "hope" that a solution - either a vaccine or drugs - would be found sooner than might have been hoped 10 or 20 years ago, though it is "impossible to say when that will be".

"But it's certainly true to say that we will need to adapt to a new normal until we get to that point."

Human trials of a vaccine developed by Oxford University began last month, with scientists aiming to have a million doses ready by September if efficacy tests go well.

Mr Gove said Boris Johnson would set out on Thursday how the country can get back to work, get the economy moving, return children to school and travel to work more safely.

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"We're consulting with employers and unions, professionals and public health experts, to establish how we can ensure that we have the safest possible working environments, and the Prime Minister will be saying more later this week," he explained.

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