Boris Johnson urges Brits to carry on working from home and 'minimise travel' despite lockdown rules easing on April 12

BRITS have been urged to keep working from home if they can – even as lockdown begins to ease on April 12.

No10 revealed workers won't yet return to their offices unless they have to as people are urged to "minimise travel".

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The Prime Minister is this evening giving an address to the nation about what they can expect next on his roadmap to freedom.

The next stage of unlocking is due to take place next Monday, when non-essential shops and hairdressers will be able to open their doors.

Pubs and restaurants with outdoor space will also be able to open to punters.

Indoor leisure centres – including gyms – will be allowed to open, while outdoor attractions like zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas will also throw open their doors.

Overnight stays away from home with the same household will also be back on the cards.

But those who have been out of the office for months have been told to stay home for the time being if they can.

It comes as…

  • Gyms, zoos, drive-in cinemas and beauty salons WILL reopen on April 12
  • Brits have to stick to social distancing guidelines and must abide by the Rule of Six the PM confirmed today
  • Indoor cinemas and bingo halls to stay closed until May 17 under roadmap out of lockdown
  • Boris Johnson confirms pubs, shops, and hairdressers WILL open on April 12 as UK takes major step out of lockdown
  • UK Covid deaths drop 90 per cent in a month with 26 new fatalities and 2,762 new cases
  • The holiday destinations most likely to get quarantine-free status

But Downing Street officials said tonight: "People should continue to work from home where they can, and minimise domestic travel where they can.

"International holidays are still illegal."

The officials made sure their message to the nation was clear – after the 'stay at home' rule ended in March and was replaced with a confusing 'stay local' directive, which was later quietly dropped.

Despite the message being scrapped, Brits hoping to head to the airport for holidays were warned they'd still face a ÂŁ5,000 fine.

But there's renewed hope for drinks with work friends and even a summer break after the Government announced overnight that everyone in England will be offered free rapid Covid tests twice a week.

It's hoped the tests will allow Brits to get back into offices, as well as enjoying their leisure time without worry.

And the PM confirmed his Government could issue so-called Covid passports that will allow high-risk settings – like clubs – to reopen fully.

Mr Johnson said his plan to lead the country out of national restrictions is on track as cases, deaths and hospitalisations drop.

However, tough restrictions will still remain in place, even after April 12.

Social distancing rules will still be in force, while outdoor gatherings must still be limited to six people or two households.

Brits must not socialise indoors with anyone they don't live with or have formed a support bubble with.

But brighter days are coming after the PM and top aides agreed at a 'Covid O' meeting that unlocking can go on.

Another 26 people were recorded to have died with coronavirus in the UK today – a drop of almost 90 per cent on this time last month, when 236 lives were lost.

Covid deaths here may be dropping so sharply because fewer over-70s are falling ill in the first place.

In 52 areas of England, there have been no new cases of Covid in that age group for more than a week.

And it's been revealed Britain now has one of the lowest Covid death rates in Europe – while the number of people dying of all causes is at its lowest level since 2014, in spite of the pandemic.

Mocked as 'the sick man of Europe' as coronavirus took hold last year, the dazzling success of the UK's jab's roll-out, combined with a tough lockdown – one of the strictest in the world – has forced down fatalities.

What will reopen on April 12?

Mr Johnson said that non-essential retailers can reopen from this date, as long as strict conditions are met.

This is understood to include:

  • Clothing shops
  • Homeware shops
  • Toy shops
  • Vehicle showrooms (other than for rental)
  • Betting shops
  • Tailors
  • Tobacco and vape shops
  • Electronic goods shops
  • Mobile phone shops
  • Auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment)
  • Market stalls selling non-essential goods

Other businesses that are expected to reopen as part of the plans include:

  • Pubs (outdoor service only)
  • Restaurants (outdoor service only)
  • Hairdressers
  • Gyms (indoor exercising – but no classes)
  • Beauty salons
  • Spas
  • Libraries
  • Theme parks
  • Drive-in cinemas
  • Drive-in performances
  • Zoos
  • Community centres

In weekly figures to April 4, Britain recorded four deaths per million people – making it the fourth-lowest for fatalities in Europe, behind Norway, Denmark and Portugal.

However, there's still reason for caution.

Of 315 areas of England, 111 – or 35 per cent – have seen a rise in case rates, while 198 – 63 per cent – have seen a fall and six are unchanged.

Corby in Northamptonshire continues to have the highest rate in England, with 164 new cases recorded in the seven days to March 28, the equivalent of 227.1 cases per 100,000 people.

That's up from 198.0 per 100,000 in the seven days to March 21.

Rotherham has the second highest rate, up from 141.3 to 172.2, with 457 new cases.

North Warwickshire has the third highest rate, up from 78.1 to 167.0, with 109 new cases.

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