Boris Johnson said yesterday he is ‘very confident’ the remaining Covid curbs will be lifted as planned next month – but Tory MPs urged him to go faster.
The Prime Minister said the data ‘continues to indicate’ that his July 19 terminus date, when all legal limits on social contact are set to be scrapped, will go ahead.
But Tory backbenchers demanded that the Prime Minister speed up the lifting of restrictions after the Mail revealed yesterday that lockdown could end a fortnight early if the coronavirus data continues to improve.
Boris Johnson said yesterday he is ‘very confident’ the remaining Covid curbs will be lifted as planned next month – but Tory MPs urged him to go faster
A two-week ‘review point’ demanded by Mr Johnson will now be a ‘genuine review of the data’ which could lead to Freedom Day being brought forward to July 5.
Former Cabinet minister David Davis, who was among rebel Tories who voted against an extension of coronavirus restrictions this week, led calls for an earlier unlocking.
He said: ‘If the numbers show, as we suspect, significantly lower death rates and lower serious illness rates – and the vaccines continue to have an effect – there is an incredibly strong argument to liberalise as soon as we can. July 5 would be a very good day for that.’
Ex-party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith added: ‘The latest data show that the link between hospitalisations and infections has been broken and therefore in two weeks’ time we should be in an even stronger position and we should get on with it…
‘The problem is a bunch of scientists keep pumping out these forecasts and every one of them is wrong, and every one of them has been wrong since day one. So my concern all along is that’s not science – it’s no better than pundits at the races.’
Former Cabinet minister David Davis, who was among rebel Tories who voted against an extension of coronavirus restrictions this week, led calls for an earlier unlocking
Former Cabinet minister David Jones said: ‘We have to learn to live with this virus, which is perfectly achievable, thanks to the success of the Government’s vaccination programme.’
On a visit to Kirklees College in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, yesterday, Mr Johnson said: ‘I’m very confident that we’ll be able to go through with step four of the roadmap on the timetable that I’ve set out with treating July 19… as a terminus date.
‘I think that’s certainly what the data continues to indicate.’
It came as official analysis showed yesterday that as the pandemic receded, the death rate in England was 750 for every 100,000 people – the lowest since figures were first calculated 20 years ago.
The study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the overall number of deaths in England and Wales were both more than 10 per cent below the average for the month over the five years before the virus struck.
It was the second month in a row in which deaths were below average levels in England.
The low mortality rates, in a month when UK infections from the virus almost trebled and fears over a third wave began, is a fresh sign of the success of mass vaccinations.
The ONS report said the chance of dying with Covid-19 in England fell for the fourth consecutive month, with the mortality rate in May just 7.1 for every 100,000 people.
On a visit to Kirklees College in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, yesterday, (pictured) Mr Johnson said: ‘I’m very confident that we’ll be able to go through with step four of the roadmap on the timetable that I’ve set out with treating July 19… as a terminus date.’
In England there were a total of 35,401 deaths registered last month, 4,252 deaths – or 10.7 per cent – below the average for the month between 2015 to 2019.
In 333 cases the virus was recorded as the main cause. In Wales in May there were 2,416 deaths registered – some 271 deaths or 10.1 per cent below the average for the month. Doctors identified the virus as the main cause in 15 cases.
The breakdown also showed that Covid was only the 24th most common cause of death in May in England. The most common killer in England was heart disease (3,780 deaths), which was ahead of Alzheimer’s and dementia (3,711).
Flu and pneumonia accounted for 1,012 deaths. Prostate cancer, the tenth most common cause of death in England, killed 713.
At the peak of the second wave in January this year there were 32,872 Covid-linked deaths in the UK – 28,820 in England.