The British government unveiled on Monday its coronavirus recovery plan, as health authorities announced a further 210 people had died from the virus across the UK over the last 24 hours.
The Department of Health tweeted: “As of 9 am 11 May, there have been 1,921,770 tests, with 100,490 tests on 10 May,” adding: “1,400,107 people have been tested, of which 223,060 tested positive.”
“As of 5 pm on 10 May, of those tested positive for coronavirus, across all settings, 32,065 have sadly died.”
The government’s 50-page document, called: “Our Plan to Rebuild: The U.K. Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy” is split into three steps of lifting restrictions.
The document applies only to England and states that people must respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland when traveling across the border.
Speaking in parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government’s plan was “conditional and dependent” as always on the common sense of the British people.
“We have together observed the toughest restrictions on our freedoms in memory,” he said.
“If the data goes the wrong way, if the alert level begins to rise, we will have no hesitation to put on the brakes – delaying or reintroducing measures locally, regionally or nationally,” Johnson said.
“Our struggle against this virus has placed our country under the kind of strain that will be remembered for generations. But so too will the response of the British people.”
The first step begins on May 13. Where possible, workers who can work from home should continue working remotely. Those who cannot, such as workers in construction and manufacturing, should travel to work. Those working in hospitality and retail are still exempt from going to work.
Nannies and childminders will be allowed to return to work, allowing, in turn, more parents to go to work.
For the first time during the crisis, the government has backed homemade face coverings, saying that in some circumstances they can help reduce transmission. These are not the same as facemasks used by health professionals.
The government document said Britons should “wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops.”
British people will be allowed unlimited outdoor exercise as the risk of infection outside the home is significantly lower than inside. Playgrounds and outdoor gyms, however, will remain closed. People will not be able to meet up with more than one person outside their household and must observe social distancing.
Travelers from abroad coming into the U.K. will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
The second step will begin no sooner than June 1. Cultural and sports events will be allowed to take place behind closed doors for broadcast while avoiding large-scale gatherings. Restrictions on allowing people from different households will be examined and loosened following government consultations with scientific experts.
The third step will begin no sooner than July 4. The government will aim to reopen hairdressers, beauty salons, pubs, restaurants and places of worship.
“The U.K. now needs to prepare for an extended period of living with and managing the threat from the virus; this will continue to require everyone’s support and adherence,” the government document said.
“The threat is a collective one; the responsibility to keep everyone safe is one everyone shares. If the Government is to begin to adjust the social restrictions, it will require everyone to act thoughtfully and responsibly to keep R (rates) down, and the Government has little room for error.
“If, as restrictions are lifted, everyone chooses to act cautiously and in line with the revised guidance, R will remain low, the rate of transmission will decline further, and the Government can lift more restrictions.
“This effort must, however, be a shared and collective one; only a small number of new outbreaks would cause R to tip back above one and require the re-imposition of some restrictions.”
Since originating in China last December, COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has spread to at least 187 countries and regions. Europe and the U.S. are currently the worst-hit regions.
The pandemic has killed nearly 283,500 worldwide, with total infections more than 4.13 million, while recoveries neared 1.43 million, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.