The date for the England’s route out of lockdown announcement has slipped from 22 February, to a yet unconfirmed date.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman revealed that the plan for easing the country out of restrictions would be shared to the public “in the week of 22 February”, but has not specified an exact date.
The spokesman said: “We will set out the roadmap that week but you've got what we've said previously about trying to give schools as much notice as possible and we've said we'll give at least two weeks.”
Two weeks notice before schools reopen
The original date of 22 February was first set by the Prime Minister, with the date holding significance because it was set two weeks before 8 March, the date the government hopes to start reopening schools.
In a video posted to Twitter, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “On February 22 , I’m going to be setting out a roadmap as far as we’re able to, giving everybody some more clarity, insofar as we can, about how we hope to unlock, beginning with schools, we hope very much, from 8 March.
“We have got to make a judgement about the effectiveness of the vaccines in bringing down the death rate and serious illness.
"At the moment we are not seeing the kind of conclusiveness on that key point."
Vaccination rollout key to easing restrictions
The optimism on school reopenings has been built around the growing success of the vaccination programme, with more than 13 million people in the UK receiving their first dose of the vaccine.
Ministers have also been told the date of 22 February in the House of Commons.
All primary and secondary schools have been closed since 5 January, following the introduction of the third national lockdown in England.
Speaking to ministers, Downing Street said they “will look at the data in the round”. This came after Sir Jeremy Farrar said he believed the number of coronavirus infections will need to be below 10,000 before lockdown restrictions can be eased.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We want to see infection rates continue to fall across the UK not least so that will ease the pressure on the NHS and ultimately lead to fewer people sadly dying.
"We will look at the data in the round and we will use that to inform the roadmap."