Boris Johnson has failed to give a concrete guarantee that the restrictions will not return in the fall or winter if Covid-19 infections rise in England.
However, the prime minister denied having knowledge of a document containing long-term plans for the restrictions to continue after July 19.
He told MPs that he had seen reports “on some newspaper that means absolutely nothing to me” and added that his aim was to continue his roadmap to reopen the country.
Politico London Playbook reported that a “Whitehall Document” outlines a set of recommendations that ministers are considering on how the country can “live with Covid” if restrictions are lifted next month.
The report said the options could be advising people to continue working from home while other policies and lifestyle changes may remain in place even after social distancing laws are repealed, with a nod to the winter pressures on the NHS.
During a statement on the G7 summit in the House of Commons, Conservative former minister Mark Harper – chairman of the lockdown-skeptical Covid Recovery Group – said: “In the prime minister’s statement, he refers to the G7 joining forces to defeat Covid .
“Wouldn’t it be more specific to say that we have to make sure we can vaccinate the world to keep people safe, but then we have to learn to live with an endemic virus?
“And does he share my concern about what is going on in the government right now – the warnings of restrictions that come back with increasing cases in the fall and winter, and can he rule this out?
“That would reassure many colleagues on both sides of the house.”
Mr. Johnson replied, “I saw something about it this morning, from some newspaper, that means absolutely nothing to me.
“Our goal is to drive the roadmap forward and bring back the freedoms we love.”
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister announced a four-week delay in easing restrictions in England due to the spread of the Delta variant first identified in India.