The UK Prime Minister said he can see absolutely nothing in the data to dissuade him from continuing along ‘our road map to freedom’.
UK PRIME MINISTER has said he sees “absolutely nothing in the data” to halt the easing of the lockdown.
The Prime Minister acknowledged cases could again spiral as restrictions are relaxed, with the “stay local” order having ended in Wales and larger outdoor meetings being permitted in England from Monday.
But he said on today that the “key difference” this time is that the rise in prevalence should be “sufficiently mitigated” by the successful vaccine roll out.
However, there were warnings that more must be done to prevent the import of new variants from overseas as vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi raised the prospect of booster shots beginning in September.
During a discussion at the Conservatives’ virtual spring forum, the UK Prime Minister said that a “third wave” is being witnessed in parts of Europe and “bitter experience” has taught him that this could hit the UK “three weeks later”.
“The question is – is it going to be, this time, as bad it has been in the past? Or have we sufficiently mitigated, muffled, blunted the impact by the vaccine rollout?” he added.
“There’s lots of promising evidence that a lot of people who could be vulnerable are now protected against death and serious disease, that’s my hope, my hunch.
“But we haven’t yet seen the real conclusive proof in the sense that we haven’t seen a take-off in infection rates that hasn’t been accompanied by a lot of hospitalisations and deaths. That’ll be the key difference this time round, if we’re lucky.”
Johnson, however, remained optimistic that his roadmap to easing England’s restrictions can continue, saying there is a “good chance” of allowing non-essential retail reopening on April 12, when hairdressers are also earmarked to reopen.
“In just a few days’ time, I’m finally going to be able to go to the barbers,” he said in a subsequent speech.
“But more important than that, I’m going to be able to go down the street and cautiously, but irreversibly, I’m going to drink a pint of beer in the pub.
“And as things stand, I can see absolutely nothing in the data to dissuade me from continuing along our road map to freedom, unlocking our economy and getting back to the life we love.”
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European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said AstraZeneca must “catch up” on deliveries to the EU before exporting doses elsewhere.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US president Joe Biden discussed their vaccination programmes in a call yesterday afternoon.
“The Prime Minister stressed that global access to vaccines will be key to defeating the pandemic,” a Downing Street spokesman said.
In Wales, lockdown restrictions were being eased as the “stay local” requirement was dropped today with people being allowed to stay in self-contained holiday accommodation.
A relaxing of England’s lockdown will take place on Monday when the “stay home” order ends, and groups of up to six people, or two households, are able to meet outside.