LONDON (AA) – The national lockdown set to expire on Dec. 2 will not be extended, but a three-tier system will be in place in England, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday.
In a statement to lawmakers via video link, Johnson said the government’s plan is to get through the winter while avoiding the virus spiraling out of control and without “squandering hard-won gains.”
With the end of the second national lockdown on Dec. 2, shops, gyms, and hairdressers will reopen with preventive measures including social distancing still in place, Johnson said.
Places of worship will also reopen for communal worship, he added.
Johnson’s remarks came following a statement from Oxford University scientists that their vaccine provides 90% protection from the disease with one-and-a-half doses and 70% in a single dose.
"For the first time since this wretched virus took hold we can see a route out of the pandemic," he said.
Johnson added that "scientific cavalry is in sight," referring to positive vaccine news.
"We know in our hearts by next spring we will succeed," he added.
Johnson said after the lockdown, England will “continue to use a sensible approach based on three tiers.”
“We will be dispensing the vaccine as fast as we possibly can,” Johnson said, adding that the government has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, and 350 million vaccine doses in total.
“That is enough for everyone in the UK, and in the crown dependencies and overseas territories,” he said.
“But given that this will take time, we will simultaneously be using rapid testing to identify asymptomatic cases and to reduce transmission,” Johnson added.
The government is expected to reveal which areas will have which tier on Thursday.
More than 55,000 people have died from coronavirus in the UK since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.