Boris Johnson 'can't guarantee' so-called 'Freedom Day' is irreversible

19 July 2021, 20:14 | Updated: 19 July 2021, 21:46

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Boris Johnson has admitted he "can't guarantee" England's roadmap is irreversible while delivering a press briefing on so-called 'Freedom Day'.

Speaking from isolation at Chequers during the Downing Street coronavirus news conference, the prime minister said some restrictions could be rowed back on if necessary.

Announcing his roadmap in February, Mr Johnson said lockdown measures would happen in a "cautious but irreversible" manner.

Elsewhere, he told the press the country will "be going one way from now on" thanks to the UK's vaccination programme.

Read more: Blow to nightclubs as Covid passports to be used from autumn

Read more: Covid jabs will be rolled out to vulnerable children over age of 12

But in recent weeks, the PM has taken a small step back from those comments, adding that the roadmap will only be irreversible if people "proceed with caution".

Last week, he said he "hoped" it would be irreversible, and claimed that "we've always said that".

On Monday, Mr Johnson repeated this claim while updating the nation on what has come to be known as 'Freedom Day'.

Read more: PM defends 'Freedom Day' as most restrictions lift in England

Read more: Majority of Covid patients not double-jabbed - Chief Scientific Adviser

"I want to repeat what I said last week, and perhaps the week before about this, the roadmap is, we hope, irreversible. I think I said that from the get-go," he told the press briefing.

"We can't guarantee that. Something could obviously happen that changes our calculations. We've got to be humble in the face of nature."

The PM added that a new variant could scupper the government's plans, before saying: "I've always been very clear about that."

Mr Johnson continued: "The only way we can make the roadmap irreversible is by continuing to be cautious.

"That, I'm afraid, is why we've got to continue with the measures that we are, and continuing with the routines that we have, such as Test, Trace and Isolate. But above all, continue to focus on the vaccination campaign and getting a jab."