Britain could return to normal after the Corona virus outbreak by Christmas, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday, despite concerns over a second wave of winter cases.
Johnson drafted a timetable for easing the remaining blockade measures in England, including the removal of homework and the reopening of sports stadiums and live theater.
"It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the pending restrictions and make a more significant return to normality by November at the earliest, possibly by Christmas," he said.
Current government policies provide that employees can work from home wherever they can.
However, according to the latest proposals, employers can have "more discretion" and discuss with workers whether it is safe to return to the office from August 1st.
When asked whether this contradicted his own government's advice, Johnson also said that people could continue to work from home.
From the same date, most of the remaining leisure facilities, including ice rinks and casinos, could be reopened, subject to social distance regulations.
Wedding receptions with up to 30 guests are also allowed.
Johnson also said the state's National Health Service (NHS) would receive an additional £ 3 billion (US $ 3.8 billion) to prepare for a possible winter surge in some cases.
"Even if we are planning the worst, I firmly believe that we should also hope for the best," he added.
Fear of a second wave of infection was sparked this week when scientists said nearly 120,000 people could die in hospitals alone from September to June next year.
The warning was put forward as a "reasonable worst case scenario" if no countermeasures were taken.
Johnson acknowledged the risks of reopening, especially in winter when the NHS is often more stressed due to seasonal flu outbreaks.
But he said councils across England would be given new powers to quickly impose local restrictions in the event of outbreaks, rather than another ban across the country.
Leicester, a town in central England, has been blocked in some cases due to an increase in the past two weeks.
Johnson gave sports fans something to cheer by announcing the intention to let spectators return to the stadiums from October onwards if successful test events take place.
Mass gatherings have been banned since March, and the showpiece of the English Premier League has been played behind closed doors without fans since its resumption.
Pilot events include the World Snooker Championship, Glorious Goodwood Horse Racing Festival, and two County Cricket Friendly Games later this month.
The UK had more than 45,000 deaths from the outbreak – the worst in Europe – which has led to criticism of the government's response to the crisis.
On Friday, the Department of Health ordered an urgent review of the death toll count after a study claimed it was overestimated because the numbers included people who had died from the virus long after recovery.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)