Boris Johnson insists there is 'no reason' to change lockdown roadmap

13 April 2021, 13:53 | Updated: 13 April 2021, 13:56

By Maddie Goodfellow

Boris Johnson has insisted that "at the moment" there is no need to change his roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions.

The Prime Minister, who was speaking the day after the latest easing of lockdown restrictions, said that the roadmap should be followed despite the "inevitable deaths" that will be seen as a result.

Ms Johnson warned of the consequences of lifting lockdown, telling reporters: "As we unlock, the result will inevitably be that we will see more infection, sadly we will see more hospitalisation and deaths, and people have just got to understand that."

He reporters in Downing Street: "It's great that we have managed to achieve the target of getting everyone in the one to nine (priority) groups vaccinated by the deadline, by the timetable - a little bit ahead actually, 32 million people now have got their first dose, which is terrific.

"We are going now to the 45-49 group, they are being asked to come forward."

READ MORE: Moderna Covid vaccine to be rolled out in England today

READ MORE: Covid travel restrictions in Scotland to be relaxed from Friday

But he warned that, although the numbers of infections, hospital admissions and deaths are down, the reduction "has not been achieved by the vaccination programme" but rather the lockdown.

"Of course the vaccination programme has helped, but the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown," he said.

Mr Johnson again insisted that "at the moment I can't see any reason for us to change the road map, to deviate from the targets that we have set ourselves", but he urged people to be cautious.

The next "waymarks" on England's road map out of lockdown are due on May 17 and June 21.

He added: "But it is very, very important that, if we are to get there in the way that we all want, people continue to be cautious and they continue to exercise restraint and just do the basic things to stop the spread of the virus - washing your hands, giving people plenty of space, doing things in fresh air."

His comments come after shoppers flocked to high streets and drinkers downed pints as coronavirus restrictions were eased in England on Monday.

Police patrolled busy London streets as people returned to the city’s centre.

Many routes were shut to traffic until 11pm to create more outdoor seating space.

Modelling by Government advisers in the UK has suggested Monday's relaxation will not result in a surge of cases that would put pressure on the NHS, but it is "highly likely" there will be a further resurgence in hospital admissions and deaths after subsequent steps along the road map out of lockdown.

READ MORE: UK economy grew in February during third national lockdown

READ MORE: US recommends pause to Johnson & Johnson Covid jab rollout over blood clot reports

Boris Johnson also insisted he remains "very confident" about vaccine supplies.

He told reporters: "This always was going to be the 'second dose' month and people should come forward for their second doses and people who are called from the 45-49 (age) group should come forward and get theirs."

All adults in the UK aged over 45 have been offered a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, three days ahead of schedule – allowing the next phase of the rollout to begin.

This means that all people in the nine priority groups, which also covers the clinically vulnerable and healthcare workers, have had the chance to receive a dose.

It had planned to do this by April 15 and that means the UK is on course to offer every adult a vaccine by the end of July.

Now, the Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation will set out how the vaccine programme will be completed, with people in their late 40s expected to be offered a jab from this week.

Nearly 40 million doses have been delivered since December, when the rollout began, including 32 million first jabs and seven million second doses, the Government said.