British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is “optimistic” about the prospects of easing the lockdown despite warnings from scientists that any premature measures would result in a surge of coronavirus cases and deaths.
In a visit to the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies plant in northeastern England on Saturday, Johnson said the government’s main priority was to reopen schools from March 8 with the possibility of other sectors following suit.
“I’m optimistic, I won’t hide it from you. I’m optimistic, but we have to be cautious. Our children’s education is our number one priority, but then working forward, getting non-essential retail open as well and then, in due course as and when we can prudently, cautiously, of course we want to be opening hospitality as well,” Johnson said in statement quoted by The Northern Echo newspaper.
However, despite the promising statements from the prime minister, scientists have warned that it is still too early to make a decision on relaxing any restrictions.
On Saturday, 13,308 people contracted the virus nationwide.
Also, 621 people died over the past day.
However, both cases and deaths are falling.
More than 14.5 million people have been administered their first dose of the vaccine. This makes 21.8% of the population.
The latest R range for the UK stands at 0.7-0.9, with the current growth rate at -5% to -2% per day. The R number is a mechanism used to rate the virus’s ability to spread, with R being the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to.