UK PM Johnson says he hopes to avoid another lockdown

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed hope that England would not need to go into another lockdown if the public obey the rules and coronavirus vaccines continue to be effective.

“I am hopeful, I don’t see anything in the data right now that would cause us to deviate from the roadmap, but we have got to remain humble in the face of nature and we have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to protect the British public,” Johnson told a news conference.

England has further eased its coronavirus contact restrictions.

As part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, which was unveiled in February, groups of up to six, or two households, can now meet together outdoors.

Minimal travel, but no holidays, are allowed and outdoor parent and child groups can meet with up to 15 parents from Monday.

Tennis and basketball courts, outdoor swimming pools, golf courses and sailing clubs can now all reopen.

Residents in England are expected to start playing football and cricket matches outside as the country experiences a wave of warm weather this week.

In Northern Ireland, six people will be able to meet outside from Thursday, while in Scotland the “stay home” message will be lifted on Friday, allowing people to leave their homes for other reasons than school, work, health, exercise or food shopping, though they should stay near their homes.

In Wales, the “stay home” message has already been lifted.

During a briefing with journalists on Monday, Johnson gave some updates regarding the vaccine roll-out in Britain.

Johnson said pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will help US firm Novavax with the final stages of manufacturing its Covid-19 vaccine at its Barnard Castle facility in the north-east of England. The shot’s approval in Britain is pending.

Johnson also reassured Britons who were concerned about receiving their second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine due to issues surrounding the vaccine supply.

“April is going to be the second dose month and it’s very important everyone gets their second dose,” Johnson said.

England’s National Health Service (NHS) had previously warned vaccination centres that there would be a “significant reduction” in supplies.

British health department sources however told dpa the delays were not unusual and due to vaccine “batches requiring further testing to ensure the highest safety standards.”

The sources added the lag was also not to due to action from the European Union, after London and Brussels recently faced issues regarding vaccine exports by British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

During the briefing, Johnson also said questions regarding overseas travel from June 21, as originally foreseen in his lockdown roadmap, would be answered in an update to the country on April 5.

More than 30.4 million people have received their first coronavirus jab in Britain so far.

dpa/reuters

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