PM to reveal if lockdown will be fully lifted on 21 June ‘by end of month’


Boris Johnson has said he intends to tell people by the end of the month if the final COVID-19 restrictions can be lifted on 21 June.

Doubt had been cast on the last step on the roadmap out of the lockdown by the rising number of cases of the Indian coronavirus variant.

However, speaking on Friday, the prime minister said he had not seen any signs that he will have to “deviate” from plans to scrap all COVID-19 curbs in England by next month, with no need for so-called vaccine passports to be used to gain entry to pubs.

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The prime minister restated the need to remain cautious during a visit to Portsmouth
The PM restated the need to remain cautious during a visit to Portsmouth

According to the government’s current plan, it hopes to be in a position “to remove all legal limits on social contact” from 21 June.

It is also intends to allow the reopening of premises that still remain shut, including nightclubs, and ease restrictions on large events and live performances.

Prior to this, the government will have carried out a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission.

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Speaking on a visit to Portsmouth, Mr Johnson said: “We will be letting everybody know exactly what sort of arrangements to expect for 21 June.

“But what I can tell you, and just to stress that I am still seeing nothing in the data that leads me to think that we’re going to have to deviate from the roadmap – obviously we must remain cautious but I’m seeing nothing that makes me think we have to deviate.

“But on 21 June and vaccine certification – or COVID status certification I should say – people should bear in mind that I don’t see any prospect of certificates to go into pubs or anything else.”

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Pressed on whether the public will continue to be asked to wear masks, Mr Johnson replied: “We will let people know as much as we possibly can by the end of the month about weddings, for instance.

“All the details we’ll try and let people know by the end of the month about exactly where we think we’ll be on 21 June, Step 4.”

But speaking to Sky News, cabinet minister Robert Buckland said it would make “sense” for many people to carry on wearing masks even after lockdown rules are lifted, suggesting it would help curb the spread of the common cold.

Meanwhile, latest figures indicated “early signs” of a possible rise in the proportion of people testing positive for coronavirus in England.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed around one in 1,110 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to May 15 – up from one in 1,340 the previous week.

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The coronavirus reproduction number, or R value, in England also rose slightly to between 0.9 to 1.1, up from between 0.8 and 1 last week.

It comes after separate figures showed that cases of the Indian variant in the UK had risen by more than 2,000 in the space of a week.

However, while the ONS said that there were “early signs of a potential increase”, it stressed rates were low and it was too soon to say if the rise was the start of a trend.

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