British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised the irreversible ending of coronavirus restrictions while delivering a speech to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown announced in the country.
“It’s because of every person in this country that lives have been saved, our NHS was protected, and we have started on our cautious road to easing restrictions once and for all,” Johnson pointed out.
He extended his “sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones” and praised the “great spirit” shown by the nation over the past year.
"We have all played our part, whether it’s working on the front line as a nurse or carer, working on vaccine development and supply, helping to get that jab into arms, home schooling your children, or just by staying at home to prevent the spread of the virus,” the prime minister stressed.
He also warned that the third wave of COVID-19, which has swept through Europe fuelled by new variants of the coronavirus, could “wash up on our shores as well”.
“I expect that we will feel those effects in due course,” Johnson argued, underscoring the necessity of expanding international cooperation to swiftly roll-out vaccination.
The remarks followed Johnson confirming during a press conference last week that there will be “no change to the next steps of the roadmap” despite the shortages in the supply of COVID vaccine, expected next month.
As more than half of the UK adult population - over 26 million people – have now received a first dose of the vaccine as of last Saturday, chair of the COVID Recovery Group Harper and other British MPs have been questioning the ongoing restrictions in the country, slamming Johnson’s roadmap for being based on “dates” rather than on “data”.
Late last month, Johnson announced the government’s roadmap out of the lockdown in England, calling it a “one-way road to freedom”.
On 23 March 2020, Johnson outlined restrictive measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the UK. Since the first national lockdown, Britain’s official death toll has soared from 364 to more than 126,170.