Lockdown 2021 could be extended into March, senior minister Michael Gove has hinted.
He seemed to signal that lockdown 3.0 would come to an end in mid-February, when the four most vulnerable groups of Brits had been given the vaccine.
However, Gove has today (January 4) said that will be a “stretch” and lockdown “should” start being eased in March.
What did Michael Gove say about lockdown 2021?
Speaking on Sky News, Gove said there are “very, very difficult weeks” ahead.
He also revealed that people living in England should not expect a sudden easing of the lockdown restrictions come February half-term.
Instead, he said restrictions would be eased “progressively”.
As we enter March we should be able to lift some of these restrictions, but not necessarily all.
Gove said the country is in a “race against time” when it comes to the new variant.
It is thought to be between 50% and 70% more transmissible than the first strain, with the NHS now in danger of being overwhelmed.
When will restrictions be reviewed?
Asked how long the current lockdown will last, Gove revealed plans are set to be reviewed by ministers on February 15.
He said: “We hope that we will be able to progressively lift restrictions after that but what I can’t do is predict with accuracy exactly what we will be able to relax and when.
“What we do know is that the more effective our vaccination programme, the more people who are protected in that way, the easier it will be to lift these restrictions.”
He continued: “We will keep these constantly under review. But we can’t predict with certainty that we will be able to lift restrictions in the week commencing February 15-22.”
Looking towards the spring, he added: “I think it is right to say that as we enter March we should be able to lift some of these restrictions. But not necessarily all.”
What is happening with the rest of Britain?
People living in England have now been told to stay at home.
Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland and Wales are also currently all under lockdown.
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