Boris Johnson has insisted it is “looking good” for the lifting of coronavirus restrictions on July 19 during a visit to a laboratory in South Mimms.
The Prime Minister visited the National Institute for Biological Standards on Monday amid rising cases and hospital admissions.
He told reporters that cases of the Delta coronavirus variant first identified in India were going up by about 30 per cent a week “hospitalisations up by roughly the same amount and so, sadly, are ICU admissions”.
“We’ve got to be cautious, but we’ll be we’ll be following the data the whole time,” Mr Johnson said.
He remained positive that July 19 would mark the end of the lockdown.
He said the date looked set to be the “terminus point” for England’s lockdown but did not exclude the possibility of restrictions being needed again if the country faced a “rough winter”.
“You can never exclude that there will be some new disease, some new horror that we simply haven’t budgeted for, or accounted for,” the Prime Minister told reporters.
“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.
“I think what the scientists are saying is that things like flu will come back this winter, we may have a rough winter for all sorts of reasons, and obviously there are big pressures on the NHS.
“All the more reason to reduce the number of Covid cases now, give the NHS the breathing space it needs to get on with dealing with all those other pressures, and we are certainly going to be putting in the investment to make sure that they can.”
The Prime Minister suggested the economy was ready to bounce back as restrictions ease.
“We are seeing employment up, jobs up, vacancies up – we’ve got a lot of demand now and we want to get things moving as fast as we possibly can, but in a sustainable way.”