Boris Johnson will hold a press conference later today about how the UK will move into the next phase of reopening the country, Health Minister Nadine Dorries said this morning.
“It does look as if the roadmap is on course,” Dorries told Sky News. “The prime minister will be making an announcement later this afternoon and he will be detailing how we’re going to unlock and when.”
Dorries said that the data was “looking extremely positive” when asked if people in England will soon be allowed to hug again.
She added that physical contact was “massively important”, telling Sky News: “I think it’s what most people have missed, that intimate contact with family and friends, and entertaining, having people in your own house, meeting outdoors.”
Professor Sir John Bell said this morning said the nation was in a “very strong position” to move forward with the easing of restrictions.
Oxford University’s regius professor of medicine told Good Morning Britain the prospect of people being able to hug their loved ones again was “great”.
Asked about the next phase of the government’s roadmap, which will allow more mixing indoors, he said: “I think we’ll still probably go steady but perhaps a bit faster, I’ll be interested to see what the government announces. I’m feeling pretty comfortable with where we are at the moment.”
Bell said that vaccination programmes from the UK, Israel and the US shows a “rapid fall-off” in Covid cases, hospital admissions and deaths after rising numbers of people were given their first vaccine dose.
He also urged Britain to “tactically” distribute vaccines to the rest of the world at a faster pace.
“We’re vulnerable, not because we haven’t vaccinated our population, but if more variants come onshore from overseas – which they will naturally as people start to travel – we’re potentially going to be in trouble and that’s why we have a real interest in making sure everyone else is vaccinated.”