Confirming the next step on the road map out of lockdown, the Prime Minister told a Downing Street press conference he was looking forward to a pint of beer in a week’s time.
France reported more than 46,000 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, with 5,273 people in ICU.
In an interview with French Radio France Inter last week, Health Minister Olivier Véran said he predicted cases to reach a peak within the next two weeks.
“We are doing everything we can to peak by the end of April, so we can have more freedoms in May,” Mr Veran said.
However, critical care doctors say the next few weeks will be even more challenging to get through than the first and second waves.
In an editorial published in Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD) late last month, 41 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) doctors said the French government’s decision to not enforce an earlier lockdown would soon “compel health workers to decide which patients should live and which should die.”
The sharp acceleration in cases is due to the spread of the more contagious British variant which has swept across the country.
LGA: Government must work closely with councils over vaccine passports
Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement of the next step of the roadmap out of lockdown, Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:
“It is encouraging that the ongoing reduction in COVID-19 case rates, hospital admissions and deaths means we can move forward to the next step of the roadmap out of lockdown. Councils continue to work closely with local businesses to help high streets reopen safely and successfully again from April 12 and, particularly in visitor hotspots, prepare for an increase in visitors.
“We urge government to work closely with local government on any proposals for COVID-19 status certification. They are likely to bring significant implications for councils, particularly with regards to licensing, enforcement and support to venues and businesses who would have to use them. Councils can therefore provide vital insight into how the scheme can work best in practice, consider equalities implications and links to vaccine confidence.
“Rapidly targeting local outbreaks will be crucial in our continuing fight against coronavirus and the expansion of testing to all adults will play a valuable part in this. Councils will continue to use their unique knowledge and connections with their communities to reach out to areas where they are most needed.
“While we all look forward with huge hope of a return to our normal way of life, the responsibility is on us all to test ourselves regularly, share our contacts on request and self-isolate when required to keep case rates as low as possible.”
Lockdown sceptic MPs hit out at vaccine passports
Senior Tory Mark Harper, chairman of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, said: “In January the Prime Minister told us vaccines offered us the ‘way out’ of this cycle of damaging lockdowns and restrictions. By June 21 the Government has promised ‘no legal limits on social contact’ or ‘on all life events’.
“So if the Government instead wishes to introduce Covid status certificates (domestic vaccine passports) then it should ask Parliament to give its approval as ministers have promised.
“Trying to introduce these domestic vaccine passports by the back door by linking them to removing social distancing rules just won’t be acceptable either.
“It is crucial MPs are allowed a vote on this, as Michael Gove promised last week.
“Whether the state legislates for it, recommends it or simply allows it, Covid status certification will lead to a two-tier Britain and these issues need debating thoroughly and carefully before we allow them to affect the lives of our constituents.”
Sadiq Khan hits back at Boris’ ‘lies’ over TfL funding
Heathrow boss responds to PM’s briefing on international travel
In response to the Prime Minister’s comments on international travel, Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “While we welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of a framework for a risk-based approach – which provides some clarity on how testing and vaccine rollouts will facilitate the safe resumption of global flying – it’s disappointing that the opportunity has been missed to provide more certainty to reunite families separated by travel restrictions, to give sunseekers the confidence to book ahead for their summer getaway and to help businesses across the country that have had their exporting ambitions placed on hold by the pandemic.
“Now that a safe, scientifically-backed process has been agreed upon, a clearer timeline for the return to international travel is needed.”
The UK must learn from other countries that are ahead in their vaccine rollout, England’s chief medical officer said.
Professor Chris Whitty told a Downing Street press conference on Monday that while Chile in South America had vaccinated a “significant” number of its population, its Covid-19 rates were not staying down.
He said: “Is this due to vaccines used? Is this due to the timing of when things have actually been rolled out? Is it due to particular interactions with other variants? We don’t yet know.
“We absolutely need to learn from those countries that are ahead of us or alongside us in terms of vaccine rollout.”
He added: “The assumption that you vaccinate lots of people and the problem goes away, I think Chile is quite a good corrective for that.”
The Downing Street Press Conference has ended
Any plans for aviation sector and London economy?
Boris Johnson says he will give the aviation industry as much notice as possible “to get the country flying again”.
“The best thing for them is to get flying, that’s absolutely critical.”
“I think the London economy is capable of bouncing back very strongly, the way to do that is to get people back in the centre, get people shopping again.
“We need to get the gigantic metropolis of London working again.” It requires people to be safe, to be confident and the vaccine rollout to be successful til we get to steps 3 or 4.
“It won’t be a rush. People will take time, we’ve learned to work from home.” We need life to get going again in the cultural sector and in theatres.”He adds he left the finances of TfL in “good robust order” and that the current Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan “blew them” on irresponsible fares policy.
Some way off covid certification in the UK, says Boris
Asked whether children will be required to have vaccine passports should they be implemented, Boris Johnson said: “We’re a way off implementing or enacting anything of the kind for anybody, let alone children.
“I’ve spelt out the ways in which we might think of doing that but it’s not for steps two or three in any event.”
Prof Whitty says ‘Covid will not magically disappear’
Prof Whitty has said it is “no surprise” COVID-19 a year after Boris was rushed to hospital with the virus.
Answering the I’s Jane Merrick, he added: “Nor will it magically disappear in the next few months
“I’ve always said ‘this is going to be with us for some time’.”
Boris added: “A year on I’m actually filled with amazement that science has produced so many vaccines. I’m a great believer of testing as a way through, and I still am, but I never thought we could get so many workable vaccines in such a short order.”
PM warns people off booking summer holidays
Boris Johnson has warned against people in England booking summer holidays abroad yet as the government today said international travel could be banned until June.
Number 10 released an update on its international travel taskforce today, with the government saying “the state of the pandemic abroad, and the progress of vaccination programmes in other countries” meant England may not allow international travel on 17 May as previously planned.