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The third national lockdown currently in place in England is set to be reviewed in the middle of this month and legislation on the restrictions runs out at the end of March.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously indicated he thought the UK could return to some form of normality by Easter.
But today his official spokesman appeared to indicate the restrictions could be extended beyond then.
He said the hope was “by the summer we will return to some sort of normality”.
The No10 official added Mr Johnson was eager to relax restrictions before then if possible.
He said: “The Prime Minister has said, if we can, we hope to start allowing pupils back into school from March 8.
“And the plan on February 22 will set out what we may be able to do in terms of reducing restrictions going forwards.
“Before we do that it is important we review the evidence and scientific data, which is what we will do in mid-February.”
Speaking this morning while visiting a vaccination centre in Yorkshire, Mr Johnson said he is “optimistic” people will be able to enjoy a summer holiday this year.
“I don’t want to give too much concrete by way of dates for our summer holidays.
I am optimistic – I understand the reasons for being optimistic – but some things have got to go right,” he said.
“The vaccine programme has got to continue to be successful.
“We have got to make sure we don’t get thrown off course by new variants, we have got to make sure that we continue to keep the disease under control and the level of infections come down.”
More to follow…
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