Boris Johnson has pledged to reveal details of what the end of lockdown restrictions will look like in the coming days as he acknowledged some “extra precautions” may be needed.
The Prime Minister said it is “ever clearer” that vaccines are reducing deaths, despite increasing levels of infections involving the Delta variant of Covid.
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At a glance: 5 key points
Boris Johnson said he has increasing confidence that he can go ahead with the final phase of his plans to end England’s lockdown on 19 July
His comments came after new Health Secretary Sajid Javid earlier this week confirmed his intention for Step 4 of the road map to go ahead at that point
But Sajid Javid stopped short of confirming to MPs that will mean the end of every measure
Johnson acknowledged there has been an increase in positive cases - with more than 79,000 in the week to 23 June – the highest figure since February
However he still insisted the nation is in the “final furlong” of ending restrictions
What’s been said
During a visit to the Nissan plant in Sunderland on Thursday, the Prime Minister told reporters: “I know how impatient people are to get back to total normality, as indeed am I.
“I will be setting in the course of the next few days what Step 4 will look like exactly.
“But I think I’ve said it before, we’ll be wanting to go back to a world that is as close to the status quo, ante-Covid, as possible. Try to get back to life as close to it was before Covid.
“But there may be some things we have to do, extra precautions that we have to take, but I’ll be setting them out.
He added: “It looks ever clearer… the speed of that vaccine rollout has broken that link between infection and mortality and that’s an amazing thing. That gives us the scope, we think on the 19th to go ahead, cautiously, irreversibly.”
The date that Covid restrictions are set to be lifted - 19 July - has been dubbed as ‘Freedom Day’ - as all limits on social contact are set to be dropped from this date.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on 14 June that the lifting of lockdown restrictions would be postponed by four weeks, with rules now set to end on 19 July instead of 21 June.
The planned easing on 21 June was delayed amid concern over the spread of the Delta variant.
Currently, plans to lift Covid restrictions in England now look set to go ahead on 19 July - with limits yet to be laid out.
Additional reporting by PA.