The Prime Minister has set out a carefully-designed package to ease the burdens of lockdown to keep the virus under control. Everyone must stay alert to control the virus and save lives.
- We have been clear that our five tests must be met before any changes to the lockdown are made, because we must not risk the sacrifice of the British people.
- Thanks to the public’s continued patience and hard work in helping to protect the NHS and contain the virus, the Prime Minister confirmed yesterday that the Government’s five tests are being met. This means we can now move forward to the next phase of adjusting the lockdown.
- A series of measures will be put in place in England from Monday 1 June in three core areas – schools, social contact and retail
1) Firstly, as the Prime Minister set out on Sunday, we will reopen schools to more children on Monday.
- On Monday we will start to open schools - in a safe way - by reopening nurseries and other early years settings and reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in primary schools.
- On 15 June, secondary schools will begin to provide some face-to-face contact time for Years 10 and Year 12.
2) Secondly, we will also start to reopen some shops as we restart our economy.
- On Monday, outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen, provided they meet Covid-secure guidelines.
- On 15 June, we intend to reopen other non-essential retail - but only provided the five tests are still being met and shops have been made Covid-secure.
3) Thirdly, from Monday we will allow up to six people to meet outside, including gardens and other private outdoor spaces - provided those from different households continue strictly to observe social distancing rules by staying two metres apart.
- At the moment, people can meet in parks but not in private gardens. The evidence shows that the risk of transmission is significantly lower outdoors and this step will mean that people can see more of their friends, family and loved ones - perhaps seeing both parents at once, or both grandparents at once.
- But to control the virus, everyone needs to stay alert, act responsibly, strictly observe social distancing rules, and stay two metres apart from those who you do not live with.
- Minimising contact with others is still the best way to prevent transmission. You should also try to avoid seeing people from too many households in quick succession.
- It remains the case that people should not be inside the homes of their friends and families, unless it is to access the garden.
All the steps we have taken, and will take, are conditional. They are conditional on all the data, and all the scientific advice, and it is that scientific advice which will help us to judge what we are doing is safe.
- We will see how these new changes are working, and look at the R value and the number of new infections before taking any further steps, so we can ensure anything we do does not risk a second peak that could overwhelm the NHS.
- The new NHS Test and Trace programme will ensure we keep making progress in easing the lockdown while continuing to keep the virus under control.
- There is no doubt that we are making progress and we are hopeful that in the coming weeks we may be able to do more. Because while protecting the health and safety of the British public is our number one priority, we must also work to restart our economy and society - so as many people as possible can begin returning to their way of life.
The UK, Australia, Canada, and United States issued a joint statement in response to China’s proposed new security law for Hong Kong which would violate the territory’s autonomy and freedoms. In response we are examining how we would change the status of British National Overseas passport holders if China implements this National Security legislation.
- The national security legislation published by China is deeply concerning and undermines the autonomy and freedoms guaranteed for Hong Kong in the treaty agreed at the time of the handover from Britain to China.
- China must step back from the brink and live up to its international obligations. If it chooses not to, we will take steps to protect British National (overseas) passport holders by extending how long they can come to the UK without a visa from six months and make it possible to apply to work and study for extendable periods of 12 months, which provides a pathway to future citizenship.
- Rebuilding trust across Hong Kong society by allowing the people of Hong Kong to enjoy the rights and freedoms they were promised can be the only way back from the tensions and unrest that the territory has seen over the last year.
We must stay alert, to control the virus, and save lives.
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
- Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
If we are to defeat COVID-19, achieve a global recovery and avoid a future pandemic, then we must work together across borders.