British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the way out of the lockdown had to make sense so as not to be forced to reverse the easing of measures.
Johnson’s comments on Monday came after the government achieved its goal of vaccinating 15 million people by the middle of this month. This is a milestone that has fueled calls for tightening restrictions to be relaxed.
Speaking to people waiting for a vaccine with COVID-19, Johnson said the key question was how much a decrease in infections was caused by the vaccination program.
“That’s the data that we need to look at and really need to find out what’s going on,” said Johnson.
When asked about the suspension being lifted, Johnson said, “The point is that we only take reasonable steps that are proportional to our location.”
“What people don’t want to see is you know you’re just being forced into reverse – we don’t want you to know a reverse ferret – let’s take it at the right pace,” he said.
Johnson is expected to study the latest coronavirus statistics in the coming days before creating a roadmap for ending the lockdown.
That announcement, expected on February 22nd, comes seven weeks after the last strict lockdown was put in place in response to the worrying spread of a highly infectious variant of the novel coronavirus originally discovered in southeastern Kent.
The government has announced that it will reopen the schools on March 8, but is excited about other possible easing so far.
Johnson said his upcoming plan will include the earliest possible dates for the economy to reopen, which in 2020 suffered the largest drop in production in more than 300 years, plummeting nearly 10 percent.
“We have to be very careful and we want to see progress that is cautious but irreversible,” he said. “If we can, we’ll set dates.
“If the rate of infection requires us to push something to the right – delay it a little – we will not hesitate to do so.”
In the UK, more than 117,000 people have died from COVID-19, with more than four million infections recorded.
The government sees “sensible steps” out of the lockdown
Since vaccination began in the UK about two months ago, nearly a quarter of the population has been vaccinated with a first dose.
At this impressive milestone, some politicians have argued that there is now a clear way out of the pandemic.
A group of 63 Johnson’s Conservative Party MPs wrote to him over the weekend urging him to relax the lockdown in March and lift all restrictions by the end of April. This would help restart the economy.
“Covid is a serious disease and we have to control it. Just like Covid, however, lockdowns and restrictions cause immense social and health damage and have an enormous impact on people’s livelihoods, ”says the letter sent by the heads of the so-called COVID Recovery Group.
“The vaccine gives us immunity to COVID, but it must also give us permanent immunity to Covid-related bans and restrictions,” he added.
But senior government ministers rejected these calls; Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Monday that hospital stay and death rates were still too high.
“We have to look at the data,” said Hancock to the British broadcaster Sky News. “Everyone wants to get out of this situation as quickly as possible, and both are important so quickly, but also so definitely.
“That is the judgment we will make this week if we look at the data before the Prime Minister draws up the roadmap,” he said.