Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the UK government will not hesitate to reverse the easing of lockdown if scientific evidence suggests it is necessary.
Earlier today, Johnson announced further loosening of the restrictions currently on UK citizens, including the reopening of much of the hospitality industry, as well as places of worship, on 4 July.
He said that the virus could still ‘take advantage of our [the UK public] carelessness’, and that if it does ‘run out of control’ the government will ‘not hesitate’ to reverse the changes on a national or local level.
He added: “But we can avoid that if we all continue to stay alert and do our bit to control the virus.”
At today’s final coronavirus daily briefing, Johnson said: “This has been an incredibly tough time for all these establishments, but I hope everyone in them can take confidence that they can open their doors again in a couple of weeks’ time.”
However, the measures do not extend to certain other businesses, such as nightclubs or gyms.
Sir Patrick Vallance said: “The epidemic continues to shrink at the rate of something between 2 and 4% per day,”
However, he also warned that it is vital to remember that the virus is ‘still here’.
Professor Chris Whitty explained that the government has decided to take these measures ‘because all of us in every country are having to find a sustainable balance to live alongside this virus’.
He added that ‘no decision is going to be risk free’, but with cooperation and everyone playing their part that risk can be minimised.
He reminded the public to self-isolate if told to, continue washing our hands, and wear face coverings where social distancing is not possible.
Earlier, the PM had also announced that the safe social distance would reduce on July 4 from two metres to ‘one metre plus’ which Whitty said would be ‘safer, not completely safe’.
He concluded: “It is absolutely critical every individual, every household and every firm takes these precautions seriously.”
In the House of Commons earlier, Johnson had said: “Today we can say that our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end and life is returning to our streets and our shops. The bustle is starting to come back and a new but cautious optimism is palpable.
“It would be all too easy for that frost to return and that’s why we’ll continue to trust in the common sense of the community and the British people to follow this guidance.”