Prime Minister to urge caution ahead of move to step 4

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Image: Wikicommons

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a press conference to confirm whether England can move to step 4 of the roadmap.

Step 4 is expected to begin on Monday July 19 if the government’s “four tests” for easing Covid restrictions have been met.

“We are tantalisingly close to the final milestone in our roadmap out of lockdown, but the plan to restore our freedoms must come with a warning,” Prime Minister Johnson is expected to say.

“While the phenomenal vaccine rollout has offered every adult some protection against the virus, and the crucial link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths is weakened, the global pandemic is not over yet.

“Cases will rise as we unlock, so as we confirm our plans today, our message will be clear. Caution is absolutely vital, and we must all take responsibility so we don’t undo our progress, ensuring we continue to protect our NHS,” he will add.

The Health and Social Care Secretary will announce the plans to parliament.

The four tests are:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  • The assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern

The Prime Minister is also expected to urge the public to remain vigilant and exercise caution, praising the efforts of the country for the progress made so far while warning that the pandemic is not over and that caution will be key in the coming weeks.

The latest data will be presented, with current modelling suggesting that Covid cases will continue to rise as restrictions are eased. Hospitalisations, serious illness and deaths will also continue, albeit at a much lower level than before the vaccination programme.

As of July 10, a total of 80.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in the UK, with 45.7 million adults receiving a first dose, 86.9 per cent, and 34.5 million adults receiving both doses, 65.6 per cent.

The move to step 4 was delayed by up to four weeks so every adult could be offered a vaccine, 6.8 million first and second doses have already been administered in England during the delay so far.

The delay has also moved the probable end of restrictions to a point closer to the school summer holidays, when transmission is expected to be lower. Reopening at a point later in the year may increase pressure on the NHS because of winter illnesses such as flu

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Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.