oris Johnson has said the nation is “step by step, jab by jab” on the path to “reclaiming our freedoms” as he addressed the nation on the anniversary of lockdown from Downing Street.
He hailed the “courage, discipline and patience of the nation” over the past year as he led a press conference, flanked by Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser.
He also said that “at the right moment” a permanent memorial to those who died from coronavirus will be built and the “whole period” will be commemorated.
Meanwhile AstraZeneca has defended its coronavirus vaccine data after US authorities claimed some results from the US-led trial may have used “outdated information”. The firm said figures released on Monday showing the jab was 79 per cent effective against coronavirus and 100 per cent effective against severe disease was stood up in all of the data it has looked at.
Prime Minister responds to question about EU threats to block vaccine exports to the UK
Mr Johnson said: “We’re all fighting the same pandemic across the whole of the European continent… and vaccines are an international operation.”
He added: “We in this country don’t believe in blockades of any kind, [it’s] not something this country would dream of engaging in.”
Professor Chris Whitty added: “This should be seen as an international issue.”
“Just to early to say” says PM when it comes to foreign travel
He said “things certainly look difficult for the time being” with cases rising in Europe.
The Prime Minister added that he hopes to say more about international travel by April 5.
Professor Chris Whitty says chances of completely eradicating Covid are “close to zero”
He said it should be our aim to get “Covid cases right down”.
“Covid itself I anticipate being with us for the forseeable future” says Prof Whitty
Professor Whitty said that we will be able to “bring it down to manageable levels”.
He added that the impact of the pandemic will have a delayed affect on other areas of the health service.
PM: “Its been an extraordinary moment in our history”
Mr Johnson told the briefing that the pandemic has had a severe impact on education.
He said: “That’s the thing we’ve got to focus on now as a society.
“The detriment falls the hardest on the kids who needed attention the most. That’s why we’ve been working so hard as a Government to make up that gap.”
Boris Johnson says “all consequences” of the pandemic are very tough
When asked if he wished he would have locked down sooner in March 2020, Mr Johnson said: “These are very hard decisions and there are no good outcomes either way, as I think our viewers understand.
“All of these consequences are very tough.”
PM: In retrospect there are many things we wished we’d known before pandemic
Mr Johnson said: “The single biggest thing is the false asusmption that we made, about the potential for asymptomatic transmission, that misunderstanding about the reality of asymptomatic transmission certainly led to real problems that we had to work very hard to make up ground.
“We’re continuing to learn.”
Sir Patrick Vallance says there is no indication that vaccine affects are waning
He added that the response to the vaccine is only part of the antibody response.
Boris Johnson says “we must be very wary of potential for a third wave”
The PM said countries in Europe were seeing signs of a third wave. He said the UK was taking steps to prevent a third wave by testing those upon arrival to the UK.
“We keep all these measures under review, so far as its necessary to take extra measures to protect this country against variants of concern, of course we’re going to do that,” said Mr Johnson.
Steady increase in number of people who have vaccinated is helping keep coronavirus deaths down, says Professor Whitty
“A great majority of people over 65 have now had their first vaccine, and some people in the older groups are now receiving their second dose,” said Professor Whitty