UK still on roadmap out of lockdown as PM says pill could fight Covid by Autumn

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Boris Johnson has vowed to the country that lockdown easing measures will not be halted despite concerns of new Covid variants making vaccines less effective.

And in a grim warning to an entire nation that has just enjoyed its first week out of a strict and total lockdown, BoJo revealed that the country's scientists are now certain a further wave is set to hit later this year.

The PM told the nation: "I see nothing in the data now that makes me think we are going to have to deviate in any way from the road map, cautious but irreversible, that we have set up.

"But the majority of the scientific community is still firmly of the view that there will be another wave of Covid in this country later this year."

He also revealed that a new Government antivirals taskforce is set to help identify new medicines for the treatment of Covid-19.

Mr Johnson claimed this could give confidence to people that the country could “continue on our path towards freedom”.

“This means for example that if you test positive for the virus that there might be a tablet you could take at home to stop the virus in its tracks and significantly reduce the chance of infection turning into more serious disease,” he said.

The Prime Minister addressed the nation after it was announced cases of the South Africa and India variants had been recorded in their hundreds in the UK.

Both variants have seen some "community transmission" – meaning they did not have obvious links to international travel.

Government ministers admitted 557 cases of a coronavirus first seen in South Africa and 103 cases of the 'double mutation' variant that has surged across India, forcing the capital, New Delhi into lockdown.

Travel from India will finally be banned from 4am on Friday as cases surge on the subcontinent.

The Asian country will become the 40th on the travel "red list", from which only UK residents can travel but most quarantine in a £1,750 hotel.

People must quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel, taking a Covid test on the second and eighth day of their stay.

Mr Johnson had previously announced that he had cancelled his own trip to India, saying it was "only sensible" given the rising number of cases in the country.

It comes after the UK passed 10 million second vaccine doses for elderly and vulnerable people.

Mr Hancock hailed the milestone on Monday, saying uptake of the jab is 94% among over-50s as a whole.

He told MPs at the House of Commons: "Three quarters of over 75s have now had both jabs, rising to four fifths of over-80s.

"The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic and I’m delighted it’s being taken up in such huge numbers."

  • Boris Johnson
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown
  • Covid vaccine

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