Boris Johnson says lockdown NOT vaccine rollout has slashed deaths as he warns nation cases WILL rise again


BORIS Johnson warned today that Britain’s lockdown has led to lower Covid deaths NOT the vaccine – as he admitted numbers would rise again as England unlocks.

The PM claimed today that “the bulk of the work” was done by people staying inside and not Britain’s world leading jab rollout.

Boris Johnson said today the bulk of the work was down to the lockdown

Speaking to reporters this morning, Boris warned that cases would go up and urged the nation to continue to be cautious as the head back to the pub.

It comes after England went into the next phase of unlocking yesterday – with shops, gyms, hairdressers and outdoor cafes open for the first time in months.

People were able to raise a pint and have a meal with friends, go shopping and finally get a haircut.

But indoor mixing is still off for now – and holidays abroad won’t return until at least May 17.

The PM said today: “Clearly everybody was able yesterday to go to the pub, to go shopping, get a haircut and so on, that’s great.

“The numbers are down, infections, hospitalisations and deaths.”

But he warned: “It’s very important for everyone to understand the reduction in these numbers in deaths and infections has not been achieved by the vaccination programme.

“It’s the lockdown which has [been] delivering this improvement in the pandemic and the figures we are seeing.”

He said Britain’s world-leading jabs rollout had “helped” but that the “bulk of the work has been done by the lockdown.”

As the nation unlocks slowly we will see more infections, more hospitalisations and more deaths again, he said.

He also issued a stark hint that his roadmap could change in future, saying it was all on track for now but nothing could be guaranteed.

The PM went on: “At the moment I cant see any reason for us to change the roadmap, deviate from targets we have set ourselves… May 17, June 21st… the next waymarks on the road map…

“But its very, very important that if we are to get there … people continue to be cautious and continue to exercise restraint and do the basic things to stop the spread of the virus.”

Government scientists have warned of a third wave of the virus hitting Britain in the coming months as the UK comes out of lockdown.

This morning Oxford’s Prof James Naismith warned that the roadmap may slip as a result of more cases of the South Africa variant being found in South London.

A “significant” cluster of cases have been detected in south London, leading to the largest testing drive so far.

James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute and professor at the University of Oxford, said we will know in “two to three weeks” how much it has spread once people in Wandsworth and Lambeth have been swabbed.

And it could spell bad news for the reopening of society, the next step of which is on May 17 when indoor mixing is relaxed followed by a lifting of all rules in on June 21.

Prof Naismith told BBC Radio 4: “I am supportive of the Government unlocking, I think people need some way out of this.

“But I think we have to be driven by what happens with the variants, what happens with the vaccination campaign. We might have to slow it, we might have to reverse it. We might be able to continue as we are. 

“But the important thing is we need to watch if the South African variant has really taken off, and we’ll probably know in 2-3 weeks, then we may need to pause reopening.”

A total of 533 confirmed cases of the South African variant have been detected in the UK.

But this won’t be all of them, given that only a fraction (10 per cent) of positive Covid swabs are screened in laboratories to see if they were caused by the South African strain.

Did you miss our previous article…