Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to lay out dates for lockdown easing on February 22nd.
Mr Johnson is set to lay out the ‘roadmap’ to leave lockdown a week from now, giving a light at the end of the tunnel.
Speaking to broadcasters in Orpington, he said: “If we possibly can, we will be setting out dates.
“And just to help people think about what we’re trying to do on February 22nd, remember what we did around about this time last year, or a little bit later – we set out a road map going forward into the summer looking a little bit beyond, that’s what we’re going to be trying to do.”
The Daily Mirror reports that the reopening of non-essential shops could happen in a few weeks time and households could be allowed to take self-catered holidays by Easter.
The government is set to priorities the reopening of schools which looks to be on March 8th.
Mr Johnson added: “The dates that we will be setting out will be the dates by which we hope we can do something at the earliest, if you see what I mean – so it’s the target date by which we hope to do something at the earliest.
“If, because of the rate of infection, we have to push something off a little bit to the right, to lay it for a little bit, we won’t hesitate to do that.
“I think people would much rather see a plan that was cautious but irreversible and one that proceeds sensibly in accordance with where we are with the disease.”
The Daily Mirror added that reports show that some socialising with other households and the reopening of pubs could be unveiled on February 22nd.
It is also reported that grandparents could be given the green light to socialise with grandchildren once again when provisions allow limited socialising between households.
The Times reports that ministers are examining plans that could allow people to take breaks as early as the Easter holidays. A government source told the paper: “There’s an active discussion about how soon we can do it and we’ll be guided by the data.
“There’s talk of April at the earliest, but a lot of things have to go right. It’s unlikely but it is being talked about as a possibility.”
According to the Daily Mail, high street shops could be ‘about to reopen’ if the rate of infection continues to fall. The paper said a source expected it to happen ‘towards the end of March, or the beginning of April at the latest’.
However, Boris Johnson said no decision had been made on whether year groups will return to schools in England together or staggered.
He said: “No decisions have been taken on that sort of detail yet, though clearly schools on March 8th has for a long time been a priority of the Government and of families up and down the country.
“We will do everything we can to make that happen but we’ve got to keep looking at the data, we’ve got to keep looking at the rates of infections, don’t forget they’re still very high, still 23,000 or so Covid patients in the NHS, more than in the April peak last year, still sadly too many people dying of this disease, rates of infections, although they’re coming down, are still comparatively high.
“So we’ve got to be very prudent and what we wanted to see is progress that is cautious but irreversible and I think that’s what the public and people up and down the country will want to see.”
The latest coronavirus figures show that the number of cases in the UK has risen by 10,972 and the number of deaths has increased by 258, a decrease from the week before.
NHS England has also announced that those aged between 65 and 69 are set to be invited to have their first dose of the vaccine. 15 million people have now been vaccinated.
Man, 27, killed after Audi crashes into wall as police appeal for information
A 27-year-old man has been arrested
Police are appealing for information after a man was killed when a car smashed into a wall in Stockport.
A 27-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the tragic incident.
An Audi S3 was travelling North East along Broadstone Road on Saturday night when it collided with the Houldsworth Mill external perimeter wall, opposite the Grey Horse Public House, police said.
The man, a 27-year-old passenger, sadly died in the collision which happened at around 6pm on Saturday, February 24th.
Emergency services rushed to attend the scene of the incident but the passenger sadly passed away. The man’s next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.
The driver of the vehicle, a 27-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and remains in custody while enquiries continue.
Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) are now appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the incident to make a report.
They are also keen to speak to anyone who may have any footage – including dashcam, CCTV, or mobile phone footage – from the area in the moments leading up to the collision.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 0161 856 4741, quoting log number 2429 of 25/02/24.
Information can also be shared using GMP’s ‘tell us about’ tool or LiveChat function on the force’s website: www.gmp.police.uk.
Strictly’s Amy Dowden shares ‘no evidence of disease’ in cancer update
‘I have so much to strive and live for, and so grateful for another chance at life!’
Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden shared her latest health update after her cancer diagnosis last year.
The professional dancer was first diagnosed with breast cancer last May, at the age of 32.
Dowden was forced to take a step back from the show while she faced treatment and shared the news with fans.
She joined the long-running hit reality ballroom dancing series in 2017, but was forced to pull out of the show after doctors discovered she also had tumours elsewhere in her body and would have to undergo a gruelling course of chemotherapy.
The star explained her ‘journey had changed’ with another update in an Instagram Live conversation with breast cancer survivor and Paralympic gold medalist Erin Kennedy, for the cancer charity CoppaFeel! in July 2023.
Dowden was originally meant to have a ‘lumpectomy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment’, but was then told she would have to undergo a mastectomy as well as chemotherapy.
She said: “So, all of a sudden, then I realised, and you get scared, but the oncologist did say that with chemo I’ve got a really good chance of a cure.
“I was really scared and I didn’t want to do chemo but then seeing someone like yourself [Erin] who’s carried on and for me straight away it was my dancing, like, you can take away my boob but you can’t take my dancing away from me and that’s what I get really upset about.”
In a recent update shared with her 659,000 followers on Instagram, Dowden had some very good news in her journey.
She wrote: “NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE! Words I dreamed of! My biggest accomplishment yet!
“I won’t be getting the all clear for 5 years especially with a hormone fed cancer. But it was all worth it. Words I never thought I’d hear at one point. So grateful for all the care I received and continue to have.
“To my husband, family and friends who supported me unconditionally and to you guys! Thank you!”
Though the dancer still has a way to go as she recovers from the toll the last year has taken on her body.
She continued: “I will still need a monthly injection for 5 years and regular check ups.
“Chemo and this past year has certainly took its toll on my body both physically and mentally, so I’ll be taking the next few months to heal and recover.”
Ending the post on a positive note, she added: “I have so much to strive and live for, and so grateful for another chance at life!
“Something I know not all get. I certainly see life differently and my life has changed forever!
“Cancer affects too many so I will continue to do all I can to raise awareness and make sure I get as many as I can to #checkthemselves.
“It’s time to look ahead after what’s been the toughest year, and one I certainly didn’t expect! Dance floor I’m coming for you! Welsh love always, Amy x.”
Taxi driver stopped by police for having illegal and dangerous tyres
‘Check your vehicle before every shift!’
A taxi driver was caught driving with bald tyres after police officers pulled him over in Greater Manchester.
Officers out on patrol around the city-region as part of an operation with Wolverhampton Council’s Compliance Officers on Saturday night, February 24th, stopped the driver of the black Ford before checking the tyres.
As police made the discovery, in defence the driver claimed he had checked his tyres ‘just last month’.
Images on social media show an officer checking the vehicle along with an image of a tyre with completely worn tread depth – which is illegal and unsafe to drive with.
A spokesperson for City of Wolverhampton Council said: “Compliance Officers patrolled around Greater Manchester last night with Greater Manchester Police. One vehicle suspended for an illegal tyre, also vehicle prohibited by Police.
“Driver – ‘I checked tyre last month’ … Really!? Check your vehicle before every shift!”
According to car experts at Kwik Fit, the legal limit for the minimum depth of the tread on your tyres is ‘1.6 millimetres, across the central ¾ of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre’.
For safety reasons, it is recommended that you replace your car tyres before the legal limit is reached.
Motorists caught driving with tyres below the legal minimum tread depth could face penalty points being added to their licence and a hefty fine of up to £2,500 per tyre.