Ministers consider £500 payment for positive Covid test Boris Johnson suggests lockdown could last until summer Fraser Nelson: Vaccines may usher in Fortress Britain Coronavirus latest news: R-rate falls below 1 across the UK Subscribe to The Telegraph for a month-long free trial The UK's "forbiddingly high" infection rate may keep the country in lockdown for longer than planned, Boris Johnson has suggested, as he faced calls from his party to set out a road map to freedom. The Prime Minister sounded downbeat at a press conference on Friday afternoon, as he promised restrictions would only be eased when it was safe to do so. As a caucus of frustrated Tories called for restrictions to be eased as more people are vaccinated, Mr Johnson warned: "We want to do everything we can to open up, but only safely, only cautiously." "That doesn't mean I'm not optimistic about the rollout of the vaccine...but at this stage you've really got to be very cautious indeed." The latest vaccination data shows 5.4 million people have now had the jab, putting the UK on course to meet its mid-February target of 15 million. The latest evidence shows the new variant, which is responsible for the high case numbers, may also be more deadly. The Government's Nervtag committee saw data from various university trials, which suggested the Kent variant killed as many as 30 per cent more people.