A Government minister has not ruled out a delay to the road-map out of lockdown as set out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Phase Three of the journey to a life outside of lockdown is currently set to happen on May 17.
As part of that, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.
Gatherings of up to 30 people will also be legal outdoors and the rule of six or two households indoors.
Importantly for the economy, hospitality businesses will be allowed to reopen for indoor service. This time, they will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew.
But speaking today (April 18), Environment Secretary George Eustice said it is “too early to say” whether all hospitality businesses can open on May 17.
Asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show whether the UK is on track for the reopening of all indoor hospitality on May 17 and if this will be dependent on vaccine passports, he said: “Well, it is too early to say.
“But I think we are on track in the sense that we are on track with the rollout of the vaccination programme.
“We have now vaccinated everybody over the age of 50 and this week they are offering vaccinations as well to those under the age of 50, starting with the 45 to 59-year-olds – so that bit is on track.
“But we are being a bit cautious here. So although we have now got 60% of the adult population vaccinated we do just have to keep a close eye on these variants of concern.
“Also, see what the impacts are of the easements we have just made, the loosenings we have just made, before moving to the next stage.”
Whether India should be added to the Government’s ‘red list’ following a rise in coronavirus cases is being kept “under regular review”, Mr Eustice has said.
It comes after a surge in Covid infections have occurred across India, including members of its government testing positive for the virus.
The Environment Secretary said: “Well, we’re allowing people in from India provided they have had a pre-departure test, provided they then quarantine – albeit not in a hotel or a designated facility, but quarantine at home – and then have a test at two and eight days.
“So there are quite a lot of robust tests and checks for anybody coming into the country.
“But, look, we keep this under regular review. We take the advice of the scientific experts on this.
"If the advice is we should change that and move to the red list we would.”
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