Boris Johnson prioritises school reopening as he prepares to unveil "cautious" plan to lift lockdown
The reopening of all schools across England on March 8 will be the government's top priority
Boris Johnson is set to announce a four-part plan to ease lockdown measures, with the reopening of schools across England on March 8 remaining a top priority.
The prime minister will reveal the details of his plan in a news conference on Monday evening, having discussed it with ministers and MPs earlier in the day.
The reopening of schools will form part of the first step of his roadmap, which will also see outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households permitted from March 29.
Some reports claim March 29 will also see people allowed to leave their area for the first time since the current restrictions were put in place - though recommendations that they remain local are set to remain and overnight stays will not be permitted.
Johnson also says that any lifting of restrictions will be informed by data, with figures for the vaccine rollout, evidence of vaccine efficacy, new variants and infection rates being monitored before proceeding to the next step.
"Today I’ll be setting out a roadmap to bring us out of lockdown cautiously," Johnson said in a statement.
"Our priority has always been getting children back into school which we know is crucial for their education as well as their mental and physical wellbeing, and we will also be prioritising ways for people to reunite with loved ones safely.
"Our decisions will be made on the latest data at every step, and we will be cautious about this approach so that we do not undo the progress we have achieved so far and the sacrifices each and every one of you has made to keep yourself and others safe,” he added.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday that there will be "weeks" in between steps to allow ministers adequate time to carefully monitor the impact.