UK’s Johnson Warns of Risks of Quicker Lockdown Exit

March 8, 2021 Updated: March 9, 2021

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the CCP virus still poses a significant risk and a quicker exit from the lockdown restrictions than currently planned may exacerbate it.

Talking at a press briefing at 10 Downing Street on Monday afternoon, Johnson acknowledged that people have asked the government to accelerate the lockdown exit “many times.”

“Of course I understand the urgency that people feel, but we have to be driven by the data we have, we have to look at the rates of infection,” he said. “Don’t forget, they are still very high by the standards of last year. We still have thousands of people in hospital with COVID.”

“I agree that there are some encouraging signs but the whole point is, you know we remember where we were last summer, we had the disease down to levels much below where it is today and we saw what happened with the spike.”

Johnson said “the curve is going up again” in other European countries. He warned that, every time infection rates rise on the continent, “it’s not too long after that that we see an increase in this country as well.”

“We’ve just got to remain prudent,” he said, adding that the government’s roadmap is intended to be “cautious but irreversible.”

“I think that people would really rather trade some urgency and some haste in favour of some security and certainty about those dates that we’ve set out.”

Earlier on Monday, schools in England reopened to all pupils as the government began easing lockdown measures intended to the curb the spread of the virus.

Johnson said that this marked the first step towards normality and was only possible because of public efforts to bring COVID-19 infection rates down.

Johnson on Feb. 22 set out his “roadmap” out of the lockdown, which includes four stages with five weeks in between.

Under the government plan, COVID-19 restrictions on social contact will not be completely removed until June 21 at the earliest.

Some backbench MPs in the ruling Conservative Party have expressed opposition to the continuing lockdown rules even as infection rates are dropping rapidly across the country.

Britain’s daily death toll from the CCP virus dropped to 82 on Sunday, the first time the figure has fallen below 100 since last October. On Monday, the daily toll fell further to 65.