Boris Johnson has warned that more people will die from Covid if lockdown restrictions are lifted.
It comes after a vaccines expert warned there could be another 50,000 deaths in the UK’s third wave of Covid this year.
And the latest figures from Public Health England show that infections are increasing in 10 percent of the country.
The National Statistics Office says more than 150,000 people in England and Wales have died with Covid on their death certificates.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters on Downing Street, “It’s great that we managed to meet the goal of having all members of one to nine (priority) groups vaccinated by deadline and on schedule – a little bit ahead, actually 32 million people have now got their first dose which is great.
“We are now going to the 45-49 group, they are asked to report.”
However, he warned that while the number of infections, hospital admissions and deaths had decreased, the reduction “was not achieved by the vaccination program” but rather by the lockdown.
“Of course the vaccination program helped, but most of the work to reduce the disease was done through the lockdown,” he said.
“So if we unlock the inevitable result will be that we will see more infections, unfortunately we will see more hospitalizations and deaths.
“People just have to understand that.”
Mr Johnson insisted again that “at the moment I see no reason for us to change the roadmap, deviate from the goals we have set for ourselves,” but urged people to be careful.
The next unlocked “waypoints” on England’s road map are due May 17th and June 21st.
He added: “But it is very, very important that if we get there the way we all want people to continue to be cautious and to keep restraint and only do the basic things to stop the expansion of the EU Virus – washing hands, giving people plenty of space, doing things in the fresh air. “
Boris Johnson insisted he was “very confident” about vaccine supplies.
The Prime Minister told reporters on Downing Street, “This was always the second dose month and people should call for their second dose, and people who are in the 45 to 49 age group called , should get in touch and receive theirs. “