Boris Johnson 'optimistic' about lockdown end
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Boris Johnson ‘optimistic’ about lifting lockdown restrictions around shops and pubs

Re-opening schools remains top priority for Prime Minister

Boris Johnson feels “optimistic” about the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

The Prime Minister told reporters he is confident measures may be toned down when he announces his ‘roadmap’ later this month.

However, while repeating his sense of positivity, the upbeat PM simultaneously sounded a note of caution.

COVID jab
Is the vaccine rollout contributing to lockdown optimism from Boris Johnson? (Credit: YouTube)

What did Boris Johnson say about lockdown ending?

Mr Johnson admitted he could barely contain his cheer during a trip to a coronavirus vaccine lab today (February 13).

He was visiting the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies plant in Billingham, Teesside, where the new Novavax vaccine will be manufactured.

Wearing a lab coat, Mr Johnson said: “I’m optimistic, I won’t hide it from you.

We don’t want to be forced into any kind of retreat or reverse ferret.

“I’m optimistic, but we have to be cautious.”

A hospital patient suffers with Coronavirus
Will you be rushing back to the pub? (Credit: YouTube)

Boris Johnson confirms lockdown priority

The Prime Minister also stated that re-opening schools remained top of the agenda.

Schools in England are expected to be opening in some form on March 8.

Read more: ‘Pints in the pub by Easter’ as Boris Johnson ‘reveals three-stage roadmap’ for easing restrictions

However, giving hope that shops and pubs may also soon return, the Prime Minister continued: “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.”

The Prime Minister will make his announcement on or around February 22.

Read more: When will lockdown end? Social distancing ‘could last until the autumn’

PM ‘hopes to avoid lockdown U-turn’

Mr Johnson also indicated he hoped that once announced he would not have to make another U-turn on his decisions.

He continued: “I will be trying to set out as much as I possibly can in as much detail as I can, always understanding that we have to be wary of the pattern of disease.

“We don’t want to be forced into any kind of retreat or reverse ferret.”

Mr Johnson also repeated suggestions by Health Secretary Matt Hancock who recently put forward the idea that Brits will have to live with COVID like they do with flu.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock believes we will have to learn to live with COVID (Credit: YouTube)

The PM added: “I do think that in due time, it will become something that we simply live with… [with] some people more vulnerable than others. That’s inevitable.”

A government source told the i newspaper that data has proven the third national lockdown has proved relatively successful thus far.

They claimed: “My understanding is the Prime Minister is encouraged by a slew of data [showing] the positive impact the current lockdown has had.”

They continued: “By March, there’s also a good chance that almost, if not all, over-50s and younger vulnerable groups would have been given at least their first dose of a vaccine.

“We may well be enjoying a pint in the pub by Easter if the data continues to improve in the coming weeks.”

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