BORIS Johnson has announced some lockdown restrictions could be eased within the next THREE WEEKS.
The PM said he is “looking at the potential of relaxing some measures” before the middle of February.
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But he could not give a guarantee schools would be back before Easter.
He said: “I do think now this massive achievement has been made of rolling out this vaccination programme, I think people want to see us making sure we don’t throw that away by having a premature relaxation and then another big surge of infection.
“I totally understand the frustrations of parents, I really thank teachers for what they’re doing, the immense efforts they’re going to to teach kids online, and the Government has provided a lot of laptops… I know that’s no substitute for direct face-to-face learning.
“Believe me there’s nothing I want to do more than reopen schools, I’ve fought to keep schools open for as long as I possibly could.
“We want to see schools back as fast as possible, we want to do that in a way that is consistent with fighting the epidemic and keeping the infection rate down.”
Primary schools could be the first to reopen, with the PM saying getting kids back into the classroom is a top priority.
Asked about the schools closure, he said: “It will go on a little bit more. We’re going to be looking at where we get to on February 15.”
No 10 has said it will carry out a review of the current restrictions around February 15.
The PM also said the Government is “definitely looking at” the possibility of travellers arriving in the UK being required to quarantine in hotels to keep new variants of the virus out.
He said: “We have to realise there is at least the theoretical risk of a new variant that is a vaccine-busting variant coming in, we’ve got to be able to keep that under control.”
“With this vaccination programme, we’ve done I think 6.3, 6.4 million people now in the UK as a whole.
“We are on target just, just, we’re on target to hit our ambition of vaccinating everybody in those vulnerable groups by the middle of February.”
He added: “We want to make sure that we protect our population, protect this country against reinfection from abroad.
“That idea of looking at hotels is certainly one thing we’re actively now working on.
“We need a solution that gives us the maximum possible protection against reinfection from abroad.”