England in 'final furlong' of lockdown but 'extra restrictions' may still be needed after July 19, says Boris Johnson

Credit: PA

England is in the "final furlong" of coronavirus restrictions, the prime minister has said as he acknowledged some “extra precautions” may be necessary to protect against Covid-19 after the reopening in England on July 19.

Currently, the date marks 'step 4' of the easing of coronavirus restrictions in England, when social distancing restrictions across the country and most limits on venues lifted, so long as health chiefs believe this will not negatively impact the situation.

During a visit to a Nissan plant in Sunderland, Boris Johnson told reporters he would be setting out in "the next few days what step four will look like exactly".

“But I think I’ve said it before, we’ll be wanting to go back to a world that is as close to the status quo, ante-Covid, as possible," he said.

“But there may be some things we have to do, extra precautions that we have to take, but I’ll be setting them out.”

Mr Johnson said it was becoming "ever clearer" that the vaccine programme "has broken that link between infection and mortality".

"I know that people are impatient for us to open up faster and of course I want to do that but we’re in the final furlong I really believe," he said.

The prime minister also urged parents and pupils to be “patient” over the possibility of scrapping isolation for whole bubbles in schools.

He said: "I understand people’s frustration when whole classes, whole bubbles, are sent home and people are asked to isolate.

“So what’s happening now is Public Health England and the scientists are looking at the advantages, the possibilities, of going to testing rather than isolation.

“They haven’t concluded yet so what I want to do is just to be cautious as we go forward to that natural firebreak of the summer holidays when the risk in schools will greatly diminish and just ask people to be a little bit patient.”

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