When will lockdown end? How and when coronavirus restrictions could be eased

England is currently in a third lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions don't look like they will be easing any time soon.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced that the UK's coronavirus death toll went past the grim 100,000 mark.

Speaking from No.10, the Prime Minister started his address by telling the nation: "I'm sorry to have to tell you that today the number of deaths recorded from Covid in the UK has passed 100,000.

"It's hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic. The years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended, and for so many relatives the lost chance to say goodbye."

The third national lockdown officially began on January 5, following an announcement that Mr Johnson made the day before.

This included the closure of all schools and non-essential shops as well as gyms.

When will lockdown end?

During the Prime Minister's announcement on January 4, he suggested "the middle of February" as a tentative date for the strict measures to begin easing.

Mr Johnson said: "By the middle of February, if things go well and with a fair wind in our sails, we expect to have offered the first vaccine dose to everyone in the four top priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation."

He added that "we should remain cautious about the timetable ahead", but said there was cause for hope if the vaccination programme rolls out as planned and deaths fall as a result.

The Prime Minister added: "Then I hope we can steadily move out of lockdown, reopening schools after the February half term and starting, cautiously, to move regions down the tiers."

However, Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove suggested it was more likely that lockdown would remain in place until March.

He told Sky News: "What we will be doing is everything that we can to make sure that as many people as possible are vaccinated, so that we can begin to progressively lift restrictions.

"I think it is right to say that, as we enter March, we should be able to lift some of these restrictions, but not necessarily all."

When will coronavirus restrictions be eased?

During a public appearance on January 25, Mr Johnson said data on when coronavirus lockdown restrictions can start to be eased will be assessed before mid-February.

The Prime Minister said the government will be "looking at the potential of relaxing some measures" before the middle of next month.

Speaking at a COVID-19 vaccination site at Barnet Football Club in north London, the PM said: "We're looking at the data as it comes in, we're looking at the rates of infection, as you know the JCVI [Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation] groups 1 to 4 [on the priority list] will be vaccinated by February 15.

"Before then we'll be looking at the potential of relaxing some measures. But don't forget this country has made huge progress in reducing infection, I don't think people want to see another big surge in infection."

However, that doesn't mean that restrictions will be eased by the middle of February, just that they will start considering it then.

Speaking later at a Westminster briefing, Mr Johnson's spokesman told journalists: "The prime minister was just making clear that, as I just said, we continue to look at the latest evidence in terms of the transmission of the virus, the number of people hospitalised, and the number of people who sadly go on to die.

"And he was making the point that ahead of February 15, which as you know is the review point, we will look at that evidence closely, and that will inform what we may or may not be able to ease from the 15th onwards."

He added that ahead of February 15, ministers would look at the latest evidence and data, though the 15th will be the "point where we review the national lockdown restrictions".

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