"Optimist by nature": Business Sec confident for full reopening in England on July 19

21 June 2021, 08:51 | Updated: 21 June 2021, 08:57

By Asher McShane

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told LBC today that he believes the full 'unlocking' of England will go ahead as stated on July 19.

Mr Kwarteng was asked by Nick Ferrari this morning whether he was confident lockdown would be lifted in England on the delayed date in July. He said: "I think we will be able to get there on July 19th."

"We looked at the data, we thought we need to get a bit more time to get more information, and also to make sure more people had got their vaccines.

"I'm an optimist by nature - I think we'll be able to get there on July 19th and fully reopen."

Mr Kwarteng also said he believed the government has "been good at sticking to dates", despite England's original 'Freedom Day' being delayed by four weeks.

His comments come as more than one million Covid-19 jabs were booked in just two days after the NHS opened its vaccination programme to all remaining adults in England.

A total of 1,008,472 appointments were arranged over Friday and Saturday through the booking service, NHS England said - an average of more than 21,000 every hour, or six every second.

The full figure is likely to be higher as it does not include appointments at local GP-led vaccination services or people getting the jab at walk-in centres.

The NHS has now administered around 62 million doses since Margaret Keenan became the first member of the public to get a jab on December 8.

Four in five adults have now received their first vaccination, according to NHS England figures - with three in five having both.

Public Health England's Covid-19 director Dr Susan Hopkins said on Sunday she hoped all people over 40 could get their vaccine before the full easing of lockdown restrictions planned for July 19.

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: "It is fantastic to see so many young people coming forward to play their part, protecting themselves, their friends and their family - nearly nine million people in their twenties and thirties have now had their first dose."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "It is superb to see the continued enthusiasm young people are showing for vaccines across the country."

He added: "It is vital we build on this momentum for second doses so people have the fullest protection possible."

Mr Hancock said he he was "delighted" after Snapchat, Reddit, TikTok, and YouTube partnered with the Government and NHS in a bid to encourage more young people to get vaccinated.

Hundreds of people formed long queues at Tottenham Hotspur's stadium in London on Sunday, after similar pop-up centres opened at the Olympic Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Charlton Athletic FC, Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace Athletics Centre on "Super Saturday".