Covid – early 2021

In June 2021 Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his plan for coming out of a two-month lockdown with a staged series of measures opening schools, retail and leisure locations, hospitality venues, sports centres and events, travel, and social distancing.

Unsurprisingly there was reaction across multiple sectors along with questions and criticism about the details particularly from the hospitality industry, the education sector, academics and scientists, and right wing politicians in his own party’s so-called Covid Recovery Group.

Johnson’s “roadmap” was aimed at easing the lockdown he imposed in early January to try to halt the spread of Covid-19 in England.

His nation-wide television announcement came after mounting concern about continuing rapid spread of the coronavirus and weeks of criticism about delays and questionable handling of pupils’ return to school in the new year.

The measures on January 4 – along with similar rules in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, the other nations of the UK – were the latest in a sequence of increasingly tighter restrictions through December.

They did come along with a burgeoning ray of hope in the UK and across the world for the success of the first anti-Covid vaccines – vaccines that the UK had helped develop and successfully pre-ordered, allowing it to be the first in the world to start vaccinating people.

Despite some early hiccoughs – a debatable decision to extend the recommended time between two required inoculations questioned by both the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA), and the first vaccine developer (Pfizer/BioNTech), and a squabble over supply with the EU which had failed to order early enough – the UK vaccine program proved to be the signal success of the Johnson government’s handling of the pandemic.

In the coming months it rolled out vaccine doses rapidly so that by mid summer 2021 upwards of 90% of the UK population had received their first dose and 75% were “fully vaccinated” with two shots – results believed to have limited both hospital admissions and deaths despite the rapid and worrying spread of the Covid Delta variant.

Ending lockdown plan announced
Staged measures
Multiple sectors react
Academics and scientists
Right-wing Tories
Covid Recovery Group
January lockdown imposed
Boris on tv
Criticism of delays
Return to school
UK first to vaccinate
Vaccine timing questions
European Medicines Agency
U.S. Federal Drug Administration