UK Covid LIVE: ‘Good chance’ social distancing will be dropped on June 21 says Boris as UK reports just one more death
“I think we’ve got a good chance, a good chance, of being able to dispense with one-metre plus,” Mr Johnson told reporters during a local election campaign visit to the north of England.
His comments come as the chief executive of Thomas Cook said some of the most popular tourism destinations in Europe will be open to UK holidaymakers by the end of June.
Alan French said: “We are expecting Portugal, Spain, Greece, Croatia and so forth to be open, it would be nice if Turkey was open.” He said there was “great progress” being made in terms of infection rates in the countries.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “Since the launch of the largest vaccination programme in NHS history we have now delivered an average 10 million vaccinations each month thanks to the hard-work of NHS staff both planning the roll out and administering the jabs.
“More than nine out of 10 people aged 45 and over have received their first jab and everybody aged 40 or more is now eligible, so if you receive a text inviting you to join the millions already jabbed, please follow the instructions provided and book – it is simple, effective and provides protection for you and those you love against this dreadful virus.”
Matt Hancock has expressed certainty over a “great British summer” ahead.
In a video posted on Twitter, he said: “The UK vaccination programme has just delivered its 50 millionth vaccine.
“I want to say a massive thank you to everybody involved – the NHS of course, the scientists, the Armed Forces and the council personnel who’ve helped so much, and the volunteers who brought a real spirit to this programme.
“Seems like only yesterday that Margaret Keenan was getting the first clinically authorised vaccine in the world and now we’ve delivered 50 million.
“And this is so important of course because it is a life-saving vaccine that helps protect you, helps protect those around you, and it is our route out of this pandemic.
“And it’s because of the vaccination programme that we’re able to keep going down this road map, and I know we’re going to have a great British summer.”
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, welcomed Boris Johnson’s comments that there was a “good chance” of the one-metre plus social distancing rule being scrapped on June 21.
She said: “The Prime Minister’s comments today give our sector hope of a return to normality and viability on June 21st.
“Given pubs are financially unviable under the current restrictions they face, being able to reopen without any restrictions at all from June 21st is going to be vital to their survival.
“Our recovery only begins when the restrictions are removed, so we hope the Prime Minister will stick to his road map and promise of Freedom Day on 21st June.”
Schools have backed mass vaccinations for children, with headteachers saying that “peer pressure” will increase take up.
According to Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), education leaders would be ready to help facilitate a vaccine roll-out at schools around the country
“If ministers say the vaccine will be administered in schools, if a trained professional will administer it and if it is just one jab, that is something school leaders would support,” he told The Telegraph.
“I think there will be a sense of schools wanting to step up and play their part and explain to children why having the vaccine is important during assemblies and in tutor time.”