Boris Johnson

PM vows to stick with cautious lockdown approach as schools prepare to return

T

he Prime Minister has vowed to remain “cautious” in loosening coronavirus restrictions as pupils prepare to return to school for the first time in two months on Monday.

Boris Johnson hailed the “truly national effort” to reduce coronavirus levels with the country on the cusp of marking the first phase of lockdown easing as classrooms reopen this week.

But, despite an improving picture in terms of declining Covid cases in England, the Conservative Party leader said he wanted to be careful not to “undo the progress we have made”.

It comes as the vaccine programme continues to accelerate, with people aged between 56 and 59 being invited to book Covid-19 jabs this week.

Hundreds of thousands of letters for the age group began landing on doorsteps on Saturday, and the latest round of invites comes after eight in 10 people aged 65-69 took up the offer of a jab, NHS England said.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng provided further optimism when he told The Times it was “possible” the Government will have offered a first dose to all adults by June – a month ahead of the current end of July target.

Across the whole of the UK, more than a million people have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, while almost 21.8 million people have had one dose.

Heralding the return of schools, the Prime Minister – who is due to visit a vaccination centre on Sunday – said: “The reopening of schools marks a truly national effort to beat this virus.

Schools in England are due to return on Monday as part of easing the lockdown / PA Wire

“It is because of the determination of every person in this country that we can start moving closer to a sense of normality – and it is right that getting our young people back into the classroom is the first step.”

Mr Johnson urged the public to stick to the rules as the Government contemplates keeping to its plan for removing measures.

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