Boris Johnson says scientists' warning provides 'no reason' to deviate from unlocking timetable

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to the AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, Cheshire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to the AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, Cheshire - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has claimed there is "no reason" to deviate from a timetable to unlock Britain, despite warnings from a Sage scientific advisory panel about a third wave of coronavirus cases.

Speaking to reporters about the easing of lockdown restrictions earmarked for England in May and June, Johnson said there was no reason to deviate from his road map.

“I just think it’s important we take each step on the road map as it comes and continue to roll out the vaccine, build up our defences, build up the natural resistance of our whole population in the way that we are and then continue to look at the data in the intervals that we’ve set out,” he said.

“So we are going to see exactly what happens from the April 12 to May 17 openings and thereafter through to June 21.”

“At the moment, as I look at all the data, I can’t see any reason for us to deviate from the road map that we have set out, we are sticking to it.”

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Johnson said getting the population vaccinated was “the key thing”.

He said it was “very important to stress that the best thing of all is to vaccinate our population, get everybody out getting the jab, that’s the key thing and that’s what I would advocate, number one”.

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On the prospect of Covid status certification, Johnson said several other countries were also looking at “the role of vaccination passports for overseas travel”, which was “going to be a fact of life, probably”.

“I think we are also going to look at the role of a number of signals that you can give that you are not contagious,” he said, listing immunity as a result of having had Covid-19, vaccination status and testing as factors.

From Friday, free lateral flow tests will be available on the NHS, he said.

“I think that will also be very, very valuable in giving people confidence to open up.”

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