The new milestone to unlock England

The new milestone to unlock England

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Lockdown until daily cases drop below one thousand

Are we nearly there yet? Not quite. We understand that lockdown is unlikely to be eased significantly until daily Covid cases are in the hundreds, compared to more than 10,000 a day now. On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to publish an exit plan to end restrictions in England, starting with the reopening of schools from March 8. But he is unlikely to commit to a clear timetable for the coming months, instead promising a series of reviews which would defer the reopening of shops, pubs and restaurants until cases reach a low not seen since August. Health Editor Laura Donnelly has our full, exclusive report. If cases continue to decline at the current rate, they could drop below 1,000 a day by early April. Search for latest case rates by postcode and read everything we know about which restrictions could be lifted – and when.

When Mr Johnson announced the third national lockdown on Jan 4, he said the exit plan depended on three factors: success of the vaccination programme, capacity of the NHS and the fall in deaths. In recent weeks, ministers have repeatedly highlighted the need for case numbers to fall significantly before restrictions can be eased – without citing a threshold. Science Editor Sarah Knapton explains how the goalposts to lifting restrictions have shifted. Let Matt raise your spirits with today’s cartoon.

PM urged to appoint Cabinet minister for Union

Boris Johnson has been told in a private report to appoint a new Cabinet minister for the Union and make the role as important as the great offices of state to help keep the UK intact. Political Editor Ben Riley-Smith can today disclose details of a report by Lord Dunlop, the former Scottish minister, submitted to the Prime Minister but not yet published. An attempt to preserve the Union in the decades to come and to counter the possibility of Scottish independence, it is understood to give a detailed outline of the proposed post to be given to a Cabinet “big beast”.

Beyond Britney: Stars who also deserve an apology

Hollywood is scrambling to make amends to Britney Spears. The release of Framing Britney Spears – a documentary exploring the pop star’s rise, fall, and bizarre current existence in a state of legal limbo – provoked a backlash against her infamous detractors. But after it aired in Britain last night (read our review), it raises questions about other female celebrities who endured public humiliation rarely encountered by their male peers. Susannah Goldsbrough asks: How many more are overdue an apology?

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

TV licence amnesty | The BBC has suspended its threat to prosecute over-75s who have failed to set up a new television licence, following an outcry over the scheme. The corporation said the temporary amnesty was a response to the pandemic and did not say how long it would last. The change of policy follows a Telegraph investigation into the scheme.  

Around the world: Greeks bearing drifts

Unusually heavy snowfall has blanketed Athens, with authorities warning residents to avoid leaving their homes. View a gallery of more striking pictures of the day from around the world.

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