PM to decide on Monday if coronavirus lockdown can end on 5 July

·3 min read
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 16, 2021: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for PMQs at the House of Commons on June 16, 2021 in London, England. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson make a decision on whether to bring forward England's 'terminus date' of lifting lockdown restrictions on Monday. (Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

A decision on whether coronavirus restrictions will be lifted on 5 July will be made next Monday.

Boris Johnson and some of his senior ministers have in recent days signalled that it is "looking good” for the planned lifting of coronavirus restrictions on 19 July - despite rising cases and hospital admissions.

The prime minister said the date looked set to be the “terminus point” for England’s lockdown.

Last week, when Johnson announced that the planned lifting of all legal restrictions on social contact would have to be delayed by a month until 19 July, he also said they were be a further review with a possibility that date could be brought forward until 5 July.

On Tuesday, a Downing Street spokesperson said that the outcome of that decision will be made on 28 June.

The spokesperson said: "Monday will be the day when we were deciding on the decision on that and we are closely monitoring the data, ahead of providing a full update.

Social distansing sign during the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic on 9th June 2021 in Bishops Castle, United Kingdom. After months of lockdown, and easing beginning, social distancing measure and signage are still in place. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Could social distancing come to an end on 5 July? Boris Johnson will decide by Monday. (In Pictures via Getty Images)

"We will set out very clearly to the public, the rationale for the decision we’ve made."

Johnson said on Monday: “You can never exclude that there will be some new disease, some new horror that we simply haven’t budgeted for, or accounted for.

“But looking at where we are, looking at the efficacy of the vaccines against all variants that we can currently see – so Alpha, Delta, the lot of them, Kappa – I think it’s looking good for July 19 to be that terminus point."

According to government data published on Friday, the Delta variant, which originated in India, now accounts for 99% of new coronavirus infections in England.

Johnson has said it is “sensible to wait just a little longer” and put back the end of all legal limits on social contact to 19 July, adding he was “confident” no further delay would be necessary.

However, the PM refused to rule out further lockdowns if the winter sees a rise in infection numbers that threatens to overwhelm the NHS.

“You can never exclude that there will be some new disease, some new horror that we simply haven't budgeted for or accounted for," he said.

Some experts have suggested the vaccination programme could make it safer to scrap rules.

Prof Brendan Wren, an expert in vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Sky News on Sunday: "I think if the numbers continue to be promising then I think there’s great hope that we could open up on 5 July."

A Cabinet Office spokesman told Yahoo News UK: The government is reviewing the data daily and any decisions will be made based on that."

The announcement is likely to be broadcast live on Monday.

Watch: What you need to know about COVID-19 variants

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