Lifting lockdown should be 'irreversible' after Covid cases fall, Boris says

Boris Johnson has said he wants the UK’s exit from lockdown to be ‘cautious but irreversible’ as he prepares to unveil a roadmap for easing restrictions next week.

The Prime Minister is currently facing pressure to set out a swift easing of the lockdown, on the back of a successful rollout of the vaccines. More than 15 million people have now had their first dose of the jab.

Speaking during a visit to Orpington Health and Wellbeing Centre, in south-east London, today, Johnson said no decisions had been made on the ‘detail’ of his roadmap out of lockdown just yet.

The PM noted that no decisions have been made regarding which year groups will return to school first, whether exams years will take priority, or if primary and secondary schools will see a staggered reopening.

He went on: ‘We will do everything we can to make that happen but we’ve got to keep looking at the data, we’ve got to keep looking at the rates of infections, don’t forget they’re still very high, still 23,000 or so Covid patients in the NHS, more than in the April peak last year, still sadly too many people dying of this disease, rates of infections, although they’re coming down, are still comparatively high.

‘So we’ve got to be very prudent and what we wanted to see is progress that is cautious but irreversible and I think that’s what the public and people up and down the country will want to see.’

Johnson said he hoped to be able to provide dates for the route out of lockdown, but emphasised that his roadmap would signify the ‘earliest’ day a restriction could be eased.

He added that the end of lockdown is also heavily dependent on Covid rates continuing to fall. He went on: ‘If, because of the rate of infection, we have to push something off a little bit to the right, to lay it for a little bit, we won’t hesitate to do that.

‘I think people would much rather see a plan that was cautious but irreversible and one that proceeds sensibly in accordance with where we are with the disease.’

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