Boris Johnson plays down calls for easing of restrictions - and refuses to comment on royal controversy

Monday, 8th March 2021, 4:53 pm
Updated Monday, 8th March 2021, 4:53 pm
Boris Johnson plays down calls for easing of restrictions - and refuses to comment on royal controversy (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Prime Minister has said he “understands the urgency people feel” to progress through the lockdown road map more rapidly than originally planned, but that “we have to be driven by data”.

Mr Johnson said that the data is “very encouraging” but the roadmap is intended to be “cautious but irreversible”.

The Prime Minister said that “people would rather trade urgency and haste in favour of security and certainty about dates” when asked about possibly accelerating the lifting of restrictions.

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Mr Johnson also refused to offer his opinion on the Oprah Winfrey interview and allegations that concerns were raised over the skin colour of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s child Archie.

'We do expect an impact on R'

The Prime Minister appeared at today’s Downing Street press briefing alongside deputy chief medical officer for England, Jennifer Harries.

Ms Harries said that while the number of people testing positive for Covid has dropped to below 100 per 100,000 in every region of the UK, it is “really important” that social distancing measures remain in place.

Speaking on the day that many children have returned to school, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer stressed that this will likely have an impact on transmission rates, although due to the success of the vaccination programme it will likely be manageable.

She said: “We do expect an impact on R, but clearly education is of critical public health importance.”

She also said that while current data is encouraging, “a new wave could easily take off”.

In response to a question about Prince Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, Mr Johnson said he does not comment on matters regarding the Royal Family, although he has “always had the highest admiration for the Queen”.

Asked about reports that around £200,000 is being spent on refurbishing the Downing Street flat where Mr Johnson lives, the Prime Minister said that, “all such enquiries will be answered with the normal declarations in the normal way”.