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Boris Johnson trusts in ‘solid British common sense’ after revealing 50-page lockdown plan

BORIS Johnson has urged the British public to trust in "common sense" as he laid out his 50-page roadmap to easing Britain's coronavirus lockdown.

The PM yesterday published a lengthy plan to get the country back to school and work without risking a huge second wave of infections, but many of the key details are still missing.

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 Boris Johnson gave a statement to the Commons yesterday
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Boris Johnson gave a statement to the Commons yesterday
 Boris Johnson also gave a press conference on Monday night
Boris Johnson also gave a press conference on Monday nightCredit: PA:Press Association

Last night he gave a statement outlining the three stages of his plan, and yesterday's document features some of the small print.

Figures showed that working-class men are at the greatest risk of contracting Covid-19, sparking fears the lowest-paid could be forced to put their lives at risk to reboot the economy.

He was met with criticism over his lockdown announcement yesterday, with some accusing him of mixed messaging.

Natasha from Richmond asked Mr Johnson why she could be returning to work as a primary school teacher but was still not allowed to see family members.

The PM replied: "There is new scope to see one other member of your family somewhere outdoors.

"I hope you can see the constraints we are under."

He was also asked why he had not imposed a limit on Brits travelling to beauty spots across the country to avoid overcrowding.

"What we are saying is we want people to be able to use the outdoors to be able to exercise in an unlimited way outdoors but they have got to obey social distancing," Boris said.

'OBEY SOCIAL DISTANCING'

"So there can't be any question of people just going off for holidays or staying in places like the Lake District, if they do to do exercise, it's got to be done with social distancing."

John from Midlothian asked "who we should listen to" as Nicola Sturgeon and Johnson were sharing different messages.

Mr Johnson also issued a bleak warning that although a vaccine was a way out of the crisis, it was "by no means guaranteed" to happen, adding that "even after 18 years we still don't have a vaccine for SARS."

Labour's Sir Keir Starmer said yesterday's plan provided "precious few answers" to the burning questions that Brits had about the next stage, urging him to lay out more details now.

Boris promised more information was coming but added that people should use "good, solid British common sense".

He told the House of Commons: "The Government is submitting to the House a plan which is conditional and dependent, as always, on the common sense and observance of the British people and on continual reassessment of the data."

The PM stressed that "different parts of the UK may need to stay in full lockdown longer" but stressed the country would get through it as quickly as possible.

"Our challenge now is to find a way forward that preserves our hard won gains, while easing the burden of the lockdown," he said.

"And I will be candid with the House: this is a supremely difficult balance to strike.

"There could be no greater mistake than to jeopardise everything we have striven to achieve, by proceeding too far and too fast."

The huge plan revealed:

In a foreword to the document, the PM said: "It is a plan that should give the people of the United Kingdom hope.

"Hope that we can rebuild; hope that we can save lives; hope that we can safeguard livelihoods."

But the PM warned Britain that the only way out of a complete lockdown was finding a vaccine - and there was still a chance that could never happen.

WORK

Tonight Boris told employees they must report firms who try to make them go into unsafe workplaces, as he released the details of how people can stay safe.

As Boris said yesterday, anyone who can't work from home should now be able to go back to work - but the documents still don't confirm the exact date people should start that.

Documents released tonight say people should sit apart, use screens, limit the number of people in lifts and stop sharing pens.

Government body the Health and Safety Executive will enforce the new rules - and there will be on the spot inspections to make sure businesses are complying.

The body has got an extra £14million funding boost to fund more checks and extra call centres for worried workers.

The PM told the Commons: "We are going to insist that businesses across this country look after their workers, are Covid secure, Covid compliant.
"The health and safety executive will be enforcing it and we will be having spot inspections to make sure employees are keeping their employees safe."

Workers at construction firms and in food production are among those the government has encouraged to go back to work as it confirmed its roadmap to recovery.

Example of sectors the government says should reopen if they've not already done so include food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution, and scientific research in laboratories.

Paid childcare providers, such as nannies and childminders, can also reopen as long as they follow public health guidelines including keeping hands, faces, and clothes as clean as possible.

While it's recommended you keep a 2metre distance away from those outside of your household, the government says this isn't a hard and fast rule.

The Government laid out some of the rules that people will have to abide by while they are at work.

This includes limiting the number of people in the office at any time by changing shift patterns and rotas.

Businesses will also be expected to help stop people from gathering together, staggering entry and exit where possible.

Evidence also suggests that the virus is less likely to be transmitted in well-ventilated areas, the guidance says.

This means that employers should keep offices well aired by using external extractor fans.

It's also not yet clear whether businesses - if they can uphold the measures - can force their employees back to work or not.

Lord Falconer, Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, wrote to the Attorney General yesterday seeking for the legal framework following the PM's statement.

Without clear legal guidance, Lord Falconer has warned that there will be “uncertainty, chaos and inconsistency” for those returning to work.

SCHOOLS

In England, primary school pupils will start to return in ­phases from June but children at second­aries will not be back in until at least September, as confirmed last night.

Nurseries, reception year children, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils will be the first to return after the May half term.

The documents yesterday revealed that the Government want primary schools in England to go back for at least a month before the school holidays.

However, while parents will be expected to send their kids in, they won't be fined if they keep them at home.

Kids could be sent to different schools and class sizes cut in half under plan to exit lockdown, it was revealed too.

Class sizes will be slashed to no more than 15, and pupils sat apart to try to limit any spread of coronavirus.

If schools don't have enough resources, parents may have to send their kids to a nearby school instead.

Ministers admit they cannot keep classmates two metres away from each other all day.

So instead these mini classes will be self-contained ‘bubbles’ and not allowed to mix with other kids at the school, new guidelines published tonight say.

Lunch, play breaks and daily drop off times will all be staggered to stop pupils meeting each other outside of their little groups.

Meanwhile, testing will be rolled out to all staff and pupils who show symptoms as ministers try to reassure worried parents that schools are safe.

Welsh pupils still have no date for when they may return to school.

 A slide from Mr Johnson's speech shows how the three phases will unfold
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A slide from Mr Johnson's speech shows how the three phases will unfold
 How the Covid curve could have looked without a lockdown
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How the Covid curve could have looked without a lockdown

MEETING PEOPLE

New guidelines published yesterday reveal the Government in investigating whether it’s safe for two homes to mix together.

Now being reviewed by SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies), it could see friends and family finally reunited.

In a new outline of Boris's vision, it says: “The Government has asked SAGE to examine whether, when and how it can safely change the regulations to allow people to expand their household group to include one other household in the same exclusive group.

“The intention of this change would be to allow those who are isolated some more social contact, and to reduce the most harmful effects of the current social restrictions, while continuing to limit the risks of chains of transmission.

“It would also support some families to return to work by, for example, allowing two households to share childcare.

“This could be based on the New Zealand model of household “bubbles” where a single ‘bubble’ is the people you live with.”

From Wednesday, the public will be allowed to meet with one other person who is not from their household.

But they must remain 2m away at all times.

It means people can finally see friends and family again - but only one other person and at a distance.

These rule changes will only apply in England, and they don't apply in gardens.

People can only meet up in public spaces for now.

Speaking at the daily press conference in No10 tonight the PM said that meeting with several people was "pushing it too far".

He added: "You can meet other people in the park but it must be one other person from another household observing social distancing.”

The advice comes just hours after Mr Raab sparked confusion when he appeared to suggest that people could meet up with two of their parents at the same time.

But there is still a ban on gatherings of more than two people - meaning this would be against the law.

TRAVEL

In the next few weeks, anyone coming into the UK from abroad will face a 14-day quarantine.

However, France and Ireland will be exempt from this for now.

More details on the plan are expected, but it's not going to come into action for a few weeks yet.

Meanwhile, Brits will be able to travel to exercise from Wednesday - no matter how far.

It will mean Brits can take day trips to the beach, parks and lakes that are not nearby.

But they must stay within England and cannot cross the border into Wales or Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon warned anyone crossing over could face arrest, too.

LEAVING THE HOUSE

Brits will soon be able to leave the house for more than just the four reasons listed in the coronavirus laws.

They will be allowed to travel to other places for sunbathing, picnics, and other leisure reasons.

Boris also revealed last night the public will soon be able to do as much exercise as they like, rather than just once a day like at the moment.

That will include sports like golf and tennis which had previously shut down partially thanks to the lockdown.

No10 said personal trainers would be allowed to train clients in the park - as long as they only trained one person at a time and kept two metres apart.


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Boris Johnson urges nation to go back to work if they can’t work from home
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