Health Minister Matt Hancock has lead this evening’s Downing Street coronavirus briefing.

The briefing and press conference was held at 5pm tonight as the national lockdown moves into its ninth week.

The briefing talked to the next stages of the vaccination priority list as the government continues to meet its target of vaccinating everyone over 50 by April 15th.

Mr Hancock said infection data was “moving in the right direction” but “this isn’t over yet” with one in five local authority areas reporting a rise in cases.

The conference comes after news that the next phase of vaccines will not prioritise people by occupation but continue by age.

People aged 40 to 49 will be next in line after the top nine priority groups are vaccinated.

This will be followed by 30-39-year-olds then 18-29-year-olds.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said some parts of the UK are “burning quite hot” suggesting the battle is not yet won and to remain vigilant.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, announcing the roadmap out of lockdown, said schools will reopen from March 8th for all settings and two different households can meet outside.

On March 29th people from two households can meet outside but the Rule of Six applies, outdoor sport will also be allowed again.

On April 12th non-essential shops will reopen, as do hairdressers and barbers, Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve outdoors and Domestic holidays will be allowed.

On May 17th pubs and restaurants will be allowed customers indoors, gyms will reopen, sports stadia allowed to admit up to 10,000 fans.

Two households can mix indoors and overnight

No earlier than June 21st most restrictions will be removed. No cap on numbers allowed at weddings. Saunas and spas allowed to reopen as can nightclubs.

These dates for the easing of restrictions is conditional on the four criteria continuing to be met.

  • The vaccine programme remaining on target
  • Its clear that the vaccine is making a difference to hospitalisations and death rates
  • The number of cases stay low enough to ensure the NHS is not overwhelmed
  • Difficult variants do not appear.

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