Due to the statistical report on coronavirus infections informing stabilisation of the pandemic, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to end an England-wide lockdown as scheduled on December 2 and to announce a return to regional restrictions. Johnson's office said that the government plans to return to using a three-tiered system of localised restrictions in England, with areas facing different measures based on the severity of their outbreaks. More communities are expected to be placed in the two highest virus alert categories, Johnson''s office said in a statement.
A four-week lockdown has started on Nov. 5 was ordered by the government. The Cabinet is scheduled to discuss the plans Sunday, and the prime minister is aiming to give Parliament the details on Monday, according to the statement. With assuming regulators approve a vaccine against the virus, Johnson's office also confirmed plans to begin a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination program next month. The government also will increase mass testing in an effort to suppress the virus until vaccines can be rolled out.
New known cases of COVID-19 have started to drop across the U.K., with the number of positive tests during the past seven days droping 13.8 per cent from the week before. Some 2,861 COVID-related deaths were reported over the last 7-day period, 17 fewer than a week earlier. The infection rate remains high at 244 cases for every 100,000 people. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told reporters Friday that the lockdown has been successful in slowing the spread of the virus, though he stressed that people needed to keep following the rules to keep cases down.