Covid lockdown restrictions will not end before July 19, Boris Johnson suggests

It is unlikely the easing of lockdown restrictions will come before the “terminus” date of July 19, the prime minister has suggested amid calls for an earlier reopening.

The lifting of coronavirus measures has been delayed from June 21 to July 19, was announced last week due to concerns over the spread of the Delta variant.

When asked if easing could be brought forward, Boris Johnson pointed to the rise of the Delta variant, which is causing an increase in hospitalisations and ICU admissions.

He said the vaccination programme was “going gangbusters” but added “look at the numbers of the Delta variant, it is sadly going up still… so we’ve got to be cautious but we’ll be following the data the whole time.

When asked whether the remaining restrictions are likely to be lifted before the new roadmap date of July 19, Mr Hancock said: “We are looking at the data, and we’ve said that we’ll take a specific look two weeks into the four-week delay that we had to put in place to get more people vaccinated, so we’ll do that.

The NHS has now administered around 62 million doses since Margaret Keenan became the first member of the public to get a jab on December 8.

Four in five adults have now received their first vaccination, according to NHS England figures – with three in five having both.

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