We have made good progress in suppressing the virus, although there is no room for complacency.
Our vaccination programme has rolled out further, thanks to the outstanding efforts of many thousands of people. Uptake is very high and vaccination is continuing across the priority groups.
1.8 million people had received their first dose by 11 March 2021, an 8% increase from 4 March. There are now indications of decreasing case rates and deaths among those groups vaccinated first.
We expect that vaccination will reduce infection levels in the most vulnerable groups in the coming weeks and months.
These recent advances, together with the strict lockdown measures in place since January, mean that we are now increasingly able to suppress the virus.
We have already been able to initiate some careful but significant easing of restrictions, particularly in relation to getting children and young people back to early learning and childcare settings and schools.
Further, we have been able to introduce limited easing of outdoor socialising rules for adults and 12-17 year olds. Now we can extend our planning horizon. Our indicative dates are outlined below: