UK Prime Minister Optimistic But Says He Cannot Guarantee Lockdown Ends by 21 June

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that he is “very optimistic” on meeting the government’s target of fully lifting the COVID-19 legal limits on social contact by 21 June, but admitted that nothing can be guaranteed.

“I’m hopeful but obviously nothing can be guaranteed and it all depends on the way we continue to be prudent and continue to follow the guidance in each stage,” Johnson told reporters during a visit to a school in south London.

On Monday, the prime minister announced the government’s roadmap out of the lockdown in England, calling it a “one-way road to freedom.”

The easing of the COVID-19 restrictions will start on 8 March, when schools will reopen, and two people from different households will be allowed to meet outdoors.

On 29 March, six people, or two households, will be able to meet outdoors, while non-essential retail shops and outdoor hospitality venues are due to open from 12 April. The dateline for lifting all current limits on social contact is 21 June.

Asked about the chance to meet the 21 June target, Johnson said his optimism relies on the success of the vaccination campaign.

“Because science has given us this way of creating a whole shield around our population, we can really look at that 21 June  date with some optimism. That’s how I´d put it. I´m very optimistic that we would be able to get that,” he said.

According to official data, more than 17.7 million people in the UK had already been given a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the government hopes that by 31 July, all the adult population in the country had had the possibility of getting a jab.

When asked if those who have been immunized would receive a vaccine certificate, Johnson said that the government would be looking at it, because “there are deep and complex issues that we need to explore.”

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