The Prime Minister said today the government would “examine the potential of easing some measures” before mid-February.
But he couldn’t guarantee that schools would be back before Easter.
He said, “I think now that this massive achievement has been achieved in introducing this vaccination program, people want us to make sure we don’t throw this away through premature relaxation and another big wave of infection.”
“I fully understand the parents’ frustrations, I really thank the teachers for what they are doing, the immense effort they will put into teaching children online, and the government has provided many laptops. I know this is no substitute for face-to-face learning.
“Believe me, there is nothing I want to do more than reopen schools. I have fought to keep schools open as long as possible.
“We want the schools to come back as soon as possible. We want to do this in a way that is consistent with fighting the epidemic and reducing the infection rate.”
Mr Johnson visited a vaccination site at Barnet Football Club in north London Monday morning, where around 13,000 shots have been delivered since mid-December.
During his visit, he spoke to reporters about schools.
When asked if he could set a fixed date for the schools to reopen, Mr. Johnson said, “Every day we look at the dates and try to figure out when we can lift the restrictions.
“Schools will be a priority, of course, but I don’t think anyone would want to see the restrictions lifted anytime soon while the infection rate is still very high, leading to another major spread of the infection.”
“We now have an R-value below 1 across the country, which is a great achievement. We don’t want to see a big spike in infections when the vaccination program is going so well and people are working so hard.
“I understand why people want to get a schedule from me today. I can tell you we’ll tell you, tell the parents, tell the teachers as much as we can, as soon as we can.”
Mr Johnson also said the government had “definitely checked” whether travelers coming to the UK need to be quarantined in hotels.
He said: “We need to recognize that there is at least the theoretical risk that a new variant, which is a vaccine-busting variant, will hit the market. We need to be able to control this . “
Mr Johnson continued, “With this vaccination program, I think we have now reached 6.3, 6.4 million people across the UK.
“We are exactly on the right track, we are on the right track to achieve our goal of vaccinating everyone in these vulnerable groups by mid-February.”
“We want to make sure that we protect our people and protect this country from being infected again from abroad.
“This idea of looking at hotels is certainly something we are actively working on right now.
“We need a solution that offers us the greatest possible protection against renewed infection from abroad.”