Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “optimistic” that he would be able to announce the easing of restrictions when he presents his “roadmap” for lockdown in England on February 22nd.
During a visit to the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies facility in Billingham, Teesside, where the new Novavax vaccine is made, Mr. Johnson said, “I am optimistic I will not hide it from you.” I am optimistic but we have to be careful. “
He said his first priority would continue to open schools in England on March 8, followed by other sectors, but while coronavirus infection rates fell, the overall numbers remain very high.
“We have made great strides with the introduction of vaccines. That’s great. But we still have very high infections across the country – levels that we would have thought were actually very high last year (and) unfortunately, there are still very many deaths in our hospitals.
“Although the number is gradually going down and maybe going down pretty quickly, we have to look at the data very, very carefully.”
He added, “Something that will also be very important is the effectiveness of the vaccines – do they work as we hope they will? – and make sure that, along with the lockdown, they really help reduce the incidence. That’s the key. “
The Prime Minister added that Health Secretary Matt Hancock rightly said Covid-19 could become a “manageable disease” like seasonal flu.
“A nasty illness like this will prevail. A new disease like this will take some time to get used to, but we are, ”he said.
“The wonders of science are already making a huge difference, not just through vaccinations but also through therapy. New therapies are constantly being discovered that will allow us to reduce mortality and improve our management of the disease.
“I think that in due course it will become something we just live with. Some people are more vulnerable than others – this is inevitable. “