I appreciate that this is a very challenging time for everybody and that there are differing opinions on how best to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that in being guided by the science, the Government has made difficult but proportionate decisions.
I understand that lockdowns and other restrictions have caused enormous stress and disruption to people’s lives. I also understand that lockdowns do cause other side effects and we must be mindful of these when considering policy options.
The Government does not take these decisions lightly, and unfortunately the use of local measures to target the virus was rendered insufficient following the spread of the new UK variant.
Thanks to the hard work and enormous sacrifices of the British people, as well as the incredible success of our vaccination programme, I am delighted that the Government is now in a position to cautiously start easing lockdown restrictions and has begun to do so with the return of face-to-face learning. I welcome the Government's roadmap to guide us cautiously, but irreversibly, towards reclaiming our freedoms and way of life.