Boris Johnson ‘confident’ lockdown restrictions will end in England on 19 July
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is "confident" that no further delay to the lifting of remaining Covid restrictions in England will be necessary, and will come to an end on 19 July.
The Prime Minister confirmed on Monday (14 June) that lockdown measures would remain in place until July - pushed back from 21 June - due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
'Now is the time to ease off the accelerator'
The Prime Minister said 19 July will now be the "terminus date" for the remaining restrictions on social contact.
Covid restrictions in England were due to come to an end on 21 June, but this has been pushed back by four weeks to 19 July amid the rise of the Delta variant.
Limits on numbers for sports events, pubs and cinemas will remain in place, with nightclubs to stay shuttered and people will be asked to continue working from home where possible.
However, the 30-person cap for wedding ceremonies and receptions, as well as wakes, will be lifted on 21 June, with limits to be set by venues based on social distancing requirements.
Mr Johnson said it is “sensible to wait just a little longer” and that he is “confident” no further delay will be necessary.
“It’s unmistakably clear that vaccines are working and the sheer scale of the vaccine rollout has made our position incomparably better than in previous waves," he said.
“But now is the time to ease off the accelerator because by being cautious now we have the chance in the next four weeks to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We must learn to live with this virus and we must learn how we can live our normal lives with this virus so I reflect the Prime Minister’s words, which I of course concur with entirely on July 19.”
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said it was “regrettable” that ministers had to order a delay of up to a month to the final phase of the road map.
Asked if restrictions would ease on 19 July or whether there could be another delay, Mr Gove told Sky News: “That will be the terminus date.
“What we said is that we won’t lift those restrictions before June 21, in the road map it says not before, and the whole point about the road map was to build in an element of flexibility and caution.
“It is regrettable that we do have this pause before moving to Step 4, but what we want to do is to make sure that when we do make that move, that we don’t go back.
“Because the worst thing for business, worst thing for any of us, would be to open up again and then to very quickly find that we have to reimpose restrictions.”