British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that “it’s no moment to relax” despite the achievement of the country’s vaccine rollout as the threat of coronavirus “remains very real”.
“This is an unprecedented national achievement, but it’s no moment to relax. And in fact, it’s the moment to accelerate because the threat from this virus remains very real,” Johnson said on Monday at a virtual press briefing at Downing Street, Xinhua news agency reported.
Johnson made the remarks as Britain has hit its target to complete the vaccination of the top priority groups, which cover 15 million people, by mid-February.
The Prime Minister urged patience with the easing of the restrictions as he is expected to unveil his plan for exiting the lockdown on February 22.
“Next week I’ll be setting out a road map saying as much as we possibly can about the route to normality and even though some things are very uncertain because we want this lockdown to be the last and we want progress to be cautious, but also irreversible,” he said.
Joining Johnson for the briefing, Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty said that even though the number of coronavirus cases are coming down, the infection levels remain “quite high”.
“The numbers are coming down steadily over time, but they’re still at quite a high level and above the point where it was, for example, in September last year. So significant progress, but still quite high,” he said.
Meanwhile, hospital rates are “still very high”, but they’re “definitely heading in the right direction,” said Whitty.
Another 9,765 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,047,843, according to official figures released on Monday.
The country also reported another 230 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 117,396. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.
England is currently under the third national lockdown since outbreak of the pandemic in the country. Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.