Boris Johnson ‘increasingly confident’ of July 19 reopening and says Britons will learn to ‘live with’ Covid

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 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Boris Johnson has told Cabinet he is “increasingly confident” that Britain can open up fully on July 19 – and that Britons will then learn to “live with” the Covid-19 virus.

In a sign of his rising belief that mass vaccination is successfully making it safe to ease restrictions for good, the Prime Minister told colleagues at No 10 that the latest data was looking good.

Although cases were “continuing to rise”, the number of hospitalisations and deaths were rising more slowly.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman said he had pronounced himself to be “increasingly confident of taking the final step on July 19”. Younger people were flocking in “record numbers” to get jabbed and 84 per cent of adults had now had the first dose.

In a significant phrase, the PM told ministers: “Once we have completed the roadmap we will be able to live with covid.” His spokesman said this meant covid would be “endemic I this country and around the world” just like influenza but people would manage the risks and get on with their lives. “As we do with other diseases such as influenza, we will learn to live with the virus,” said the spokesman.

Professor Robert West said that the Government had a big job to do getting people to understand the risks from coronavirus as society opens up further.

Prof West, who is a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (Spi-B), told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that infection control needed to be embedded into people’s daily lives in the same way as road safety.

He added: “People are working on how we can embed better infection control into people’s lives and of course we do already have models for this, with road safety for example which is actually quite a strong parallel.

“You have a situation where you have to get on with your life, you have to do the things you want and need to do but what you do is you take steps to minimise the risk.”

When asked if people understand the risks Prof West said: “Not very well at the moment from the evidence that we have got, so that’s a big job to do.

“For example, many, many people still are not fully familiar with what they need to do if they have been infected and have symptoms.”

New Health Secretary Sajid Javid gave an upbeat assessment of prospects for opening the economy on July 19 target in his first statement in the Commons.

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