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From face masks to home working: Four key lockdown issues we still don't know about

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a virtual press conference inside 10 Downing Street in central London on February 22, 2021, after he earlier set out the Government's roadmap out of the third Covid-19 lockdown. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday set out a four-step plan to ease coronavirus restrictions, expressing hope that life could get back to normal by the end of June. In a statement to parliament, he outlined a
Boris Johnson has revealed his 'road map' out of England's lockdown – but there are still some things we don't know. (AFP via Getty Images)

After weeks of speculation, Boris Johnson finally revealed his road map out of England’s coronavirus lockdown.

From the reopening of shops and pubs to visiting friends and family, people were finally given a concrete plan for a gradual return to normality – hopefully culminating with the lifting of all restrictions on 21 June.

However, there are still important issues which are yet to be decided. Here are four of them.

1. Social distancing, face masks and working from home

The use of social distancing measures and face masks will carry on indefinitely while a review is carried out “assessing how long we need to maintain” them.

Johnson told MPs: “This will also inform guidance on working from home which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete.

The review on face masks also has implications for schools, with pupils now urged to wear coverings in class.

Watch: What are the four tests to end lockdown?

2. Summer holidays abroad

Under the current lockdown rules, people can only travel internationally with a legally permitted reason. The earliest this requirement will end is on 17 May – the third planned stage of easing the lockdown.

However, given the government's focus on "variants of concern" and the efficacy of vaccines against such variants, it is unclear whether there will be a blanket lifting of international travel restrictions, or whether restrictions for certain countries will still apply.

As a result, a separate review has been commissioned. The prime minister said: “A second review will consider the resumption of international travel which is vital for many businesses which have been hardest hit including retail, hospitality, tourism and aviation.

“A successor to the global travel taskforce will report by 12 April [the date of the second stage for easing lockdown] so that people can plan for the summer.”

3. COVID status certificates

The government is launching a review to look at COVID status certificates to allow people to prove if they have had a vaccine or negative test result.

Johnson said it “will consider the potential role of COVID status certification in helping venues to open safely but mindful of the many concerns surrounding exclusion, discrimination and privacy”.

4. More than one care home visitor

From the first easing of lockdown on 8 March, Johnson announced "every care home resident will be able to nominate a named visitor, able to see them regularly provided they are tested and wear PPE [personal protective equipment]."

It is not yet known when more than one visitor will be allowed, though the government, in its COVID-19 response document, said there will be a decision "at step 2" – which is between 12 April and 17 May – "on extending the number of care home visitors to two per resident".

Watch: How will easing lockdown affect COVID deaths?