Coronavirus restrictions eased as roadmap out of lockdown reaches next stage

UK’s Johnson urges caution as some lockdown measures ease

Sports facilities including basketball courts, tennis courts and golf courses can also reopen, while formally organised sports activity can recommence.

Overseas holidays are banned under United Kingdom law from today as new legislation comes into force - the tightened rules begin as the Government is expected to review the list of "red list" countries from which direct flights are banned.

Mr Johnson said he hopes the easing will "kick-start a Great British summer of sport" as sports stars teamed up with the United Kingdom government to encourage a return to physical activity.

When will more restrictions be eased?

Boris Johnson stressed that "we must remain cautious, with cases rising across Europe and new variants threatening our vaccine rollout" as the latest step on his road map out of lockdown was reached.

The government has unveiled a new slogan to stress the importance of ventilation in reducing the spread of COVID-19: "Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air".

Chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty added: "The evidence is very clear that outdoor spaces are safer than indoors".

Mr Johnson, who will hold a press conference later on Monday, said that as vaccines were rolled out "it's vital that we don't overdo it and risk all the progress we've made".

Red list countries would remain under the proposed system and ministers are set to discuss if more countries should be added after Oliver Dowden hinted that the "very worrying" third Covid wave in Europe could prevent holidays overseas this summer.

"Previous experience has taught us that when a wave hits our friends, I'm afraid it washes up on our shores as well", the Prime Minister told reporters on Monday, as he sought to reassure that Britain would be continuing with its vaccination programme, and there was "nothing in the data to dissuade [him] from continuing on the roadmap to freedom".
Over the weekend, Scotland Yard urged the public to remain cautious and warned that large gatherings, unless certain exemptions apply, will remain unlawful. On Sunday, the United Kingdom recorded 3,862 new cases, the lowest daily figure in six months.

It is estimated that 57% of the United Kingdom population have now received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and the latest daily cases have dropped to levels last seen in September 2020.

Johnson announced a third national lockdown in England on January 4, but has said he plans to proceed with a "cautious and irreversible" route out of restrictions, underpinned by a quick rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

Easing of restrictions in fact began on 8 March, when schools reopened and people were allowed to meet one friend or relative outdoors.

In the third phase of reopening from April 12, the government plans to allow outdoors drinking in pub gardens, and non-essential retail such as hairdressers in England.

Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools will also be opened but for use by people on their own or in household groups.

In Wales, the "stay local" order ended on Saturday and people were allowed to stay in self-contained holiday accommodation.

Outdoor weddings are allowed, with up to six people in attendance.

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