U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to confirm on Monday that the country is on track to fully reopen and lift all restrictions by the end of June. France and Germany, whose COVID-19 vaccination campaigns are lagging behind the U.K.’s, are also trying to ease their economies out of lockdowns, albeit at a slower pace.
- Emboldened by the success of his Conservative Party in last week’s local elections, Johnson is set to push for the full reopening of restaurants, as well as hotels, on May 17. “We can now look forward to unlocking cautiously but irreversibly,” he said on Sunday night.
- In Germany, people who have been vaccinated against or have recovered from COVID-19 are exempted since Sunday from most of the severe restrictions that remain in place throughout the country for now, although they are require to abide by social-distancing measures, such as wearing masks in shops.
- France will allow restaurants to serve outside from May 19, according to a timetable recently announced by President Emmanuel Macron. The start of a nighttime curfew will be delayed by two hours to 9 p.m., and most restrictions will be lifted from June 9, unless the rate of infections rises again.
- According to the latest data, 25% of the total U.K. population have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease, versus 11% in France and 9% in Germany.
- The pound sterling was up 0.9% to $1.41 in midday trading in London, nearing five-year highs.
The outlook: Johnson showed last week how a successful vaccination campaign can translate into political victories, with election results that Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel can only look upon in envy.
Germany’s general elections are due in October, and the French presidential elections, followed by parliamentary elections, in May next year. And ruling parties in both countries are struggling to convince voters that they took the right course of action during the pandemic.