England ‘looking good’ to shed Covid restrictions on 19 July, says Johnson
Boris Johnson has said the prospects of shedding England’s Covid restrictions on 19 July are “looking good”.
The Prime Minister said data showing the immense effectiveness of two jabs against the Delta variant, and the increasing rates of vaccination, should mean the easing of restrictions will go ahead.
Data from PHE released last week revealed that two jabs of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer Covid vaccine were more effective at reducing hospitalisation from the Delta variant, first discovered in India, than against other strains.
The latest figures show 81.6 per cent of Britons have received the first Covid vaccine, while 59.5 per cent of all Britons have received two doses.
The Prime Minister delayed the easing of all Covid restrictions last week until 19 July, saying this would be the last delay.
Speaking to Sky News today, Johnson said: “It still looks to me that 19 July is the terminus point and you can see what’s happening already – we’re seeing employment up, jobs up, vacancies up.
“We’ve got a lot of demand now and we want to get things moving as fast as we possibly can, but in a sustainable way.”
He added: “Looking at were we are, looking at the efficacy of the vaccines against all variants, we can currently see…I think it’s looking food for 19 July to be that terminus point.”
It comes after the Sunday Telegraph reported that health secretary Matt Hancock had the vaccine data from Public Health England (PHE) about the efficacy of Covid jabs against the Delta variant, but did not share it with Johnson before a decision was made to delay the so-called “freedom day” on 21 June.
Johnson and three senior ministers – Hancock, Rishi Sunak and Michael Gove – met last Sunday before making a decision the next day to delay the next step of the roadmap out of lockdown for four weeks until 19 July.
Multiple sources familiar with the meeting said Hancock did not raise the data at the Sunday meeting, implying that the health secretary tried to bounce Johnson into a delay to the shedding of Covid restrictions.
The story was flatly denied by the government.