When will lockdown end?

Professor Chris Whitty and his colleagues believe that we are now past the peak of infections. ICUs are still struggling, but pressure seems to be easing. Average weekly occupancy in critical care units is now showing its first sustained falls since early December. The trend is more likely to be a result of lockdown than the vaccine rollout which should start to make a difference over the next few weeks.

The emphasis on case numbers at last night’s briefing has set alarm bells ringing for some lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs, renewing accusations of Covid mission-creep – the desire to eliminate the disease rather than simply manage it. A source close to Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, said that he was concerned that the “goalposts are moving” and was adamant that this must be the final lockdown.