Boris Johnson today said it is 'ever clearer' that the UK's vaccination drive has 'broken the link' between coronavirus infections and deaths as he insisted the nation is now in the 'final furlong' of lockdown.
The Prime Minister conceded there has been a significant surge in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks but he said that is 'not translating into a big increase in serious illness and death'.
Mr Johnson said he believes the UK's vaccine rollout has 'broken that link between infection and mortality and that is an amazing thing'.
The final stage of the PM's lockdown exit roadmap is due to take place on July 19, with all remaining curbs potentially being lifted.
Mr Johnson would not be drawn on what the country will look like after 'freedom day' but said 'there may be some things we have to do and some extra precautions that we have to take' in a hint that not all rules will be axed.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson also urged parents, pupils and Tory MPs to be 'patient' over calls to end self-isolation for entire school 'bubbles' when lockdown restrictions in England are lifted later this month.
Former Tory party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith is among 48 MPs to have signed a letter to the Prime Minister warning that the current policy is 'disproportionate' and 'unsustainable'.
Boris Johnson today said it is 'ever clearer' that the UK's vaccination drive has 'broken the link' between coronavirus infections and deaths as he insisted the nation is now in the 'final furlong' of lockdown
The latest Government statistics published yesterday showed there had been a further 26,068 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK.
That figure represented the highest daily reported number since January 29.
The Government said a further 14 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday, bringing the UK total to 128,140.
Speaking on a visit to a Nissan car factory in Sunderland, Mr Johnson said the statistics demonstrated the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
He said: 'I know that people are impatient for us to open up faster and of course I want to do that.
'But what I would say to people is we are now in the final furlong, I really believe.
'We have to look very carefully at the data and at the moment what we are certainly seeing is a big increase in cases - 26,000 as you will have seen.
'But that is not translating into a big increase in serious illness and death.
'So, it looks ever clearer that we have broken, the vaccination programme, the speed of that vaccine rollout, has broken that link between infection and mortality and that is an amazing thing.
'That gives us the scope we think on the 19th to go ahead, cautiously, irreversibly, to go ahead.'
Mr Johnson was asked whether the final easing of rules will include getting rid of face masks and social distancing.
He replied: 'I know how impatient people are to get back to total normality as indeed am I and we will be setting out, I will be setting out in the course of the next few days what step four will look like exactly.
'But I think I have said it before, we will be wanting to go back to a world that is as close to the status quo, ante Covid as possible.
'Try to get back to life as close to it was before Covid but there may be some things we have to do and some extra precautions that we have to take, but I will be setting all of that out.'
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is