Boris Johnson: Covid roadmap on track but unanswered questions about impact of Europe third wave

  • Video report by ITV News Political Reporter David Wood

The prime minister has said his roadmap out of lockdown in England is still on track with "absolutely nothing in the data" to suggest otherwise.

Speaking at the Conservatives’ virtual spring forum, Boris Johnson said: "I can see absolutely nothing in the data to dissuade me from continuing along our roadmap to freedom".

His comments come ahead of the next stage of easing Covid rules in England on Monday, when people will be allowed to meet in groups of up to six people outdoors.

The PM said as lockdown eased further in the coming months he was looking forward to "finally" being able to get a haircut and getting "going to drink a pint of beer in the pub."

"In just a few days’ time, I’m finally going to be able to go to the barbers," the PM said.

"But more important than that, I’m going to be able to go down the street and cautiously, but irreversibly, I’m going to drink a pint of beer in the pub."

Mr Johnson did admit, however, that there were still unanswered questions about what impact the third coronavirus wave sweeping Europe would have on the UK.

He said: "I think the second half of the year will have the potential to be really fantastic. But it depends on things still going right."

The PM has previously warned the "wave" of infections sweeping through Europe would "wash up on our shores".

"We depend on the successful vaccine programme and disease not taking off again," the PM told fellow Conservatives.

On Calling Peston this week: Passport to the pub? And why's the UK compromising in EU vaccine dispute?

He said “bitter experience” has shown a wave like the one in Europe would hit the UK “three weeks later”.

He added: “The question is – is it going to be, this time, as bad it has been in the past? Or have we sufficiently mitigated, muffled, blunted impact by the vaccine rollout?

“That’s a question we still don’t really know the answer to.”

  • Political Reporter David Wood explains why he believes it is unlikely that the government will put France on its travel 'red list'

His comments come as experts warned of the threat unfettered international travel could have on the UK's success in limiting infections.

Boris Johnson, who had his vaccine last week, has warned that the third wave in Europe will come to the UK's shores. Credit: AP

Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M), which advises the government, suggested progress could be undone if overseas trips were allowed without without efficient testing and tracing in place.

Under current guidelines, while it is illegal to travel abroad for holidays, international travel with a "reasonable excuse" - like study abroad, certain professions, and in relation to overseas property - is permitted.

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