Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson accused of ‘demi-lockdown’ as rules ‘continue past June’

The Government started to set out plans for twice-weekly testing and coronavirus vaccine passports yesterday (Picture: Getty Images)

Boris Johnson has been criticised for instilling ‘Project Fear’ into the public by constantly threatening lockdown with his future coronavirus rules.

Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan-Smith claims the country will be left in a ‘demi-lockdown’ even after restrictions are supposed to be completely lifted on June 21.

Sir Iain told MailOnline: ‘We were told the vaccine was the way out, no ifs, no buts. We can see from the data that the vaccine is working better than anyone had hoped, but now the scientists are saying the real issue is variants or a third wave.

‘They want to keep Project Fear going because they are enjoying the control they have, and ministers have caved in to them.

‘The result is we are headed for a hellish demi-lockdown, where we have to be tested all the time, carry a vaccine passport everywhere and are under the constant threat of being locked down again.’

The prime minister started to set out plans for a controversial vaccine passport scheme – to be called ‘Covid status certification’ – and said it was an ‘important way forward’ for England.

He told a Downing Street press conference yesterday: ‘I think the most important thing to say to everybody listening and watching is that there is absolutely no question of people being asked to produce certification or a Covid status report when they go to the shops or to the pub garden or to the hairdressers or whatever on Monday.’

He stressed that the scheme would not be up and running for the second step lockdown easing next Monday, or for the third step on May 17 when indoor hospitality venues are expected to open.

A police health worker prepares a dose of AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine on the first day of state government vaccination for police officers, at Barro Branco Military Police Academy in Sao Paulo, Brazil April 5, 2021. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

Government scientists have warned a third wave of Covid-19 infections is ‘highly likely’ to reach the UK (Picture: Reuters)

Therefore any plans for Covid-19 vaccine passports will not come in until the summer – the June 21 final unlocking date – at the earliest.

Mr Johnson explained ministers are looking at three factors to include as part of the certification scheme – whether a person has received the vaccine, has tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies, and if they have recently tested negative for the virus.

It comes as Government scientists have warned a third wave of Covid-19 infections – currently being seen in several countries in Europe – is ‘highly likely’ to reach the UK.

SAGE experts and a number of reviews published yesterday cast doubt on whether the June 21 ‘freedom day’ can go ahead as planned.

Yet Mr Johnson set about to reassure the nation that England can proceed to the next stage of lockdown easing on Monday, which will see non-essential shops, gyms and hairdressers reopen, and pubs and restaurants can serve customers outside.

He said: ‘On Monday, April 12, I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips. We set out our roadmap and we are sticking with it… We see nothing the present data that makes us think we will have to deviate from that roadmap.’

One paper suggested ‘baseline measures’ against Covid-19 – such as social distancing and masks – would need to remain in place until this time next year.

It also said the reopening of pubs, cinemas and indoor hospitality, due for May 17, could be delayed if vaccine uptake in the under-50s falls below 85%.

Mr Johnson would also not give the go-ahead for international travel to restart on May 17, adding plans are ‘not there yet’ and it is ‘too early’ to start booking holidays.

All adults in England will also be offered two lateral flow tests a week as lockdown measures ease.

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