Great Britain

Covid tiers could ‘realistically’ end on February 3, Dominic Raab says & vows vaccine should bring normal life by Spring

DOMINIC Raab today revealed hopes the UK could be in a "whole different world" in just nine weeks' time if a vaccine is available.

The Foreign Secretary said the Tier system could realistically be phased out by February 3 if the most vulnerable are able to be protected.

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And speaking on Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday this morning, Mr Raab said it was hoped that the vaccine would enable the UK to move into a new phase by February next year.

He said: "We think by the Spring, we don't know, but we think will be able to move to a whole different world because the vaccine will have distributed to key workers and the most vulnerable by age."

The date of February 3 comes after Boris faces a growing backlash from his own MPs after The Sun revealed that Easter Monday had originally been pencilled in for lifting the tiers system.

Mr Raab also addressed speculation that the government could switch to having regulations on smaller geographic levels at a county level.

He told Sky: "The problem is we've got to get the geographic size sufficiently effective that you don't find smaller enclaves shooting up because they're not subject to restrictions."

The PM has faced a blue wall of opposition to his plan to impose tough Tier 2 and 3 restrictions across 99 per cent of England when the national lockdown ends on Wednesday.

Up to 100 Tory backbenchers are threatening to rebel against the tier regime when it is voted on in Parliament on Tuesday.

Currently, the tiers will be reviewed every two weeks.

The regulations will then be brought before Parliament again on January 27.

'WE WILL WIN'

Boris is already reportedly said to have hinted that some Tier 3 areas could be downgraded to Tier 2 on December 16 in the first fortnightly review.

But last night in a nod to the war film The Great Escape, Mr Johnson told The Mail on Sunday that if rules are relaxed too fast: “We will simply tangle ourselves in the last barbed wire, with disastrous consequences for the NHS.”

And speaking of the vaccine rollout, he added: “We will inevitably win, because the armies of science are coming to our aid with all the morale-boosting, bugle-blasting excitement of Wellington’s Prussian allies coming through the woods on the afternoon of Waterloo.”

Mr Johnson also said the first such review, on December 16, would consider the views of local directors of public health, with a final decision on whether any areas should change tiers made at a Cabinet committee.

Up to 100 MPs are considering opposing the Prime Minister's plan.

The 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady said he wanted to see people "treated as adults" and trusted with their own health decisions.

He told the Sun on Sunday: “If the British people are to give up further freedoms, the Government owes it to them to make sure the rules make sense.”

The grim warning comes just days after Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Covid pain had only just begun with this year’s virus bill hitting £280million.

Ministers had refused to reveal any details of the economic impact the new tier system could cause.

The Cabinet is now only outlining the cost to soften mounting backlash within Boris Johnson's government.

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