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He warned this morning the next few weeks were “unquestionably going to be a tough few weeks”.
Following the Prime Minister’s comments, a Downing Street spokesman refused to rule out the lockdown lasting for another several months and also refused to rule out more lockdowns being introduced later in the year.
When asked whether it was likely the country could be kept under lockdown until the summer, Mr Johnson said: “I think it’s too early to say when we’ll be able to lift some of the restrictions.”
He added: “We’re seeing the contagiousness of the new variant that we saw arrive just before Christmas – there’s no doubt it does spread very fast indeed.
“It’s not more deadly but it is much more contagious and the numbers are very great.”
His warning comes just days after he suggested restrictions could be relaxed in the coming weeks.
He said things “will be very different by the spring” and while there would be no “great open sesame” in the lifting of lockdown, measures could be gradually reduced.
More to follow…
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