Govt to be prudent in easing Covid restrictions: Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that his government will be “very prudent” in easing coronavirus restrictions to ensure a “cautious but irreversible” progress.

“We’ve got to be very prudent and what we want to see is progress that is cautious but irreversible,” Johnson said about his plan for easing the current lockdown, which is expected to be announced on February 22, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

“I think that’s what the public and people up and down the country will want to see,” he told reporters.

Johnson said that “too many people are dying” due to the pandemic and while rates of infections are “coming down” they remain “comparatively high”.

The road-map exiting the lockdown is expected to include the earliest possible dates for reopening schools and different sectors of the economy, according to Johnson.

“If we possibly can, we’ll be setting out dates,” Johnson said. “The dates that we will be setting out will be the dates by which we hope we can do something at the earliest, if you see what I mean — so it’s the target date by which we hope to do something at the earliest.”

“If, because of the rate of infection, we have to push something off a little bit to the right — delay it for a little bit — we won’t hesitate to do that,” he added.

Meanwhile, the first travellers required to stay at quarantine hotels in England have begun arriving at London’s Heathrow Airport.

From Monday, all British and Irish citizens and British residents who arrive in England after being on the “red list” of more than 30 high-risk countries now have to self-isolate in hotels. The “red list” countries include South Africa, Portugal and South American nations.

The new measures, designed to prevent coronavirus variants from entering the country, apply to arrivals who have been in one of those countries in the past 10 days.

Another 10,972 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,038,078, according to official figures released Sunday.

Meanwhile, more than 15 million people of the most vulnerable groups in Britain have received a first dose of a coronavirus jab, according to the latest official figures.

England is currently under the third national lockdown since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country. Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.