By Rachael Grealish
The Prime Minister finally outlined his roadmap out of lockdown which he has called a ‘one way road to freedom’ – but there will be ‘more deaths’ he said.
After his initial speech in the House of Commons today, Monday February 22, Boris Johnson, joined by Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty, gave a press conference from Downing Street.
The PM kicked off the briefing by saying more than 17.7 million people across the UK have been vaccinated with their first dose – saying now the ‘odds have been shifted in our favour’ and ‘this programme of vaccination is creating a shield around the population’.
He said: “We now now travelling on a one-way road to freedom.”
However, he reminded the public, no vaccine is 100 percent effective and said we must be ‘realistic’ and accept that ‘lifting restrictions will lead to more infections, more hospitalisations and sadly more deaths’.
“That would happen even if the lifting of lockdown were delayed for six or nine months,” he said.
So far over 100,000 people have succumb to the deadly virus.
However, even with the prospect of more lives to be lost Johnson said: “We cannot persist indefinitely with lockdown.
“The balance of judgement – whether to lock down, or ease off – is now shifting in our favour.”
He went on to say the summer will be ‘incomparably better’ – and there will be no going back.
The roadmap out of lockdown, which the PM set out today, infers the country could be out of lockdown – including social restrictions and limits such as the rule of six – by June 21.
But as the country is set to open and the public gains more freedom, of course, the question of a ‘COVID vaccine passport’ came up.
Responding to this the PM said: “There may well be a role for certification we just need to get it right. I think lateral flow testing will play a vital part.”
He said vaccine certificates are ‘undoubtedly’ to be important for international travel.
As for using them domestically, the issues are complex – this is something the government will be reviewing and looking at the issues they pose, Johnson added.
Being unable to compel or forbid certification domestically he did say: “There are clearly some quite complex issues, issue about discrimination, all that needs to be gone into and a review needs to be done into the whole issue.”
The roadmap can be viewed here.