Boris Johnson 'optimistic' easing of restrictions can be announced on February 22

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Boris Johnson has said he is “optimistic” he will be able to begin announcing the easing of restrictions when he sets out his “road map” out of lockdown in England on February 22. Speaking during a visit to the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies plant in Billingham, Teesside, where the new Novavax vaccine will be manufactured, the Prime Minister said: “I’m optimistic, I won’t hide it from you. I’m optimistic, but we have to be cautious.” He said his first priority remained opening schools in England on March 8, to be followed by other sectors. “Our children’s education is our number one priority, but then working forward, getting non-essential retail open as well and then, in due course as and when we can prudently, cautiously, of course we want to be opening hospitality as well,” he said. “I will be trying to set out as much as I possibly can in as much detail as I can, always understanding that we have to be wary of the pattern of disease. We don’t want to be forced into any kind of retreat or reverse ferret.”