Boris Johnson urges caution when it comes to ending lockdown

8 March 2021, 16:59 | Updated: 8 March 2021, 17:19

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

"I agree there are encouraging signs, but remember where we were last summer," Boris Johnson responds to a question from LBC's Ben Kentish.

During a Downing Street press conference LBC's Westminster Correspondent Ben Kentish asked the Prime Minister a question about the data being used to make decisions.

Ben asked: "You said that the roadmap would be guided by the data, at the moment it's guided by data that's overly pessimistic, we know the vaccine rollout's been better, vaccines are more effective, the number of people in hospitals is at the lower end of what's predicted in those models.

"If it's truly guided by data will it be assessed at regular intervals to make sure that we're not prolonging resumption of normality and the economic damage that goes with that longer than the science says is necessary?"

In response, the Prime Minister said he agreed there were some "encouraging signs," but he warned we should "remember where we were last summer."

The PM told Ben "we had the disease down to levels much below where it is today and then we saw what happened with the spike."

Branding the vaccine rollout success "fantastic" the PM urged people to not forget there was a "big budget of risk involved" in opening schools.

Earlier, Dr Jenny Harries, England's deputy chief medical officer, played down suggestions schools may be forced to close again if new cases emerge.

She told the Downing Street news conference: "I think we can be very optimistic going forward.

"The testing programme in schools should mean that the likelihood of a case going into a school and then numbers of children having to come out of education to isolate should be very significantly reduced.

"There may be a very short period at the start of this programme where everybody gets used to it and a larger number of children come out of school and then it will settle down.

"It is really important when observing this that people think through the next three to four weeks, not the first one or two."