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Easing of lockdown restrictions not before March, says Zahawi

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has suggested that a gradual easing of lockdown restrictions will not begin before early March. He told BBC Breakfast: “If we take the mid-February target, two weeks after that you get your protection, pretty much, for the Pfizer/BioNTech, three weeks for the Oxford/AstraZeneca, you are protected. “One of the things we don’t know yet, and the deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam is on record as saying ‘look give me a couple of months and I’ll tell you’, is the impact of the vaccine on transmission rates ie on infecting people. “So there are a number of caveats that stand in the way of us reopening the economy. “It will be gradually, it will be probably through the tiered system but you’re looking at that sort of period, two to three weeks after the middle of February, after we’ve protected the top four cohorts.”

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