Feat: Boris, Prof Chris Whitty, Sir Patrick Valance

Good afternoon,

Hope you’ve had a nice weekend 

Millions have seen loved ones for the first time in months

Thanks for your patience 

Over 31 million vaccinated

And Gibraltar has become one of the first places in the world to vaccine its entire adult population

Monday 12th April – move to step two – hairdressers, outdoor hospitality etc.

I’ll be going to the pub to raise a pint of beer to my lips 

Changes justified by the data 

BUT 

We can’t be complacent 

We don’t know how strong the vax schield will be when the cases start to rise, which they will 

Get your Vax and use the free NHS tests too 

We see nothing in the present data that makes us think we need to deviate from our roadmap 

By being cautious, monitoring the data and sticking to the rules – HANDS / FACE / SPACE we hope that together we can make sure the roadmap to freedom is irreversible 

Whitty

We’re smashing through the vax programme – 60% of adults have had their first dose 

Vax – 60% reduction in disease. Everyone needs their second dose to increase duration 

Number of people dying steadily decreasing – combination of lockdown and vaccines 

Avg no deaths – 47 per day down from a peak of 1,300 earlier in the year

We expect there to be variants of concern along the way. We have loads of the Kent variant but much smaller of South Africa, Brazilian and the Bristol variant. 

QUESTIONS 

Katherine: When will care home residents be able to get out for a walk?

Boris: You speak on behalf of millions, it’s been tough. More in the next few days.

Matthew: Is there a risk that Covid could mutate and affect children more? Are scientists looking at vaccines for kids?

Vallance: Over time it may be necessary to update the vaccines. Vaccines for kids are being looked at, they will be the same vaccines we are currently using. 

Whitty: Children are low risk in terms of Covid, so we want to ensure the vaccines are safe and worth the risk.

BBC: Vaccine passports – will there be a vote in parliament? Can you confirm people won’t need one for the pub? When can we go on holiday?

Boris: Absolutely no question of people being asked to produce certification on Monday when pubs and shops up. 

May 17th aiming to open up indoors hospitality – not planning for it at that stage. 

The idea of vaccination status being useful for international travel. All countries are looking at it. 3 ingredients to the certifications: 1. Immunity (had it before) 2. Vaccination Status 3. Testing 

Complicated ethical and practical issues. Vaccination can’t be used alone. Don’t want to start a system that is discriminatory. We’ll be doing some test events, like getting 20K people into Wembley. It will involve testing to allow the audience to participate. 

As for a vote, first we need to work out what the proposal will be. Not going to happen for step 2 or step 3. 

Hopefully we can get going with travel from May 17th but I don’t want to give hostages to fortune or underestimate the issues we are seeing in some destinations. We have to be mindful of that.

Global Travel taskforce will report later this week and we’ll set out what is responsible before May 17th. As soon as we have solid data and info we’ll let you know. 

ITV: Do you think it’s fair to ask people to show a certificate for a normal activity? How will you support business? Set to roll our testing – how can you be confident it will work when compliance has been low?

Boris: Testing has been a massive advantage to this country. Huge proportions of the population. We’ve been able to isolate the genomic sequence and we know about the variants we face. 

Lateral flow will be a great advantage. I use them. People should use the free tests. 

Sky: After June 21st it looks like you’re having us testing ourselves twice a week and producing a certificate? Is it freedom? Are we gonna have border restrictions like Chile?

Boris: Depends on the success of the vaccination programme. Hope we get back to a sense of normality, and need to play it safe. Testing isn’t too onerous. Let’s get through stage 2 and then June 21st things will feel different. We need to be cautious to get there. Nothing in the data that would cause us to deviate from the roadmap as things stand. 

Whitty: Chile has been vaccinated to a high level but it hasn’t had a high impact. It might be because of the vaccine they used. We need to learn from other countries who are ahead of us. 

Assumption that you vaccinate and the problem goes away isn’t accurate. Chile is an example of that. 

Express: Gov review document doesn’t give much detail on social distancing. When can we hug? Some People say that covid certificates are un british?

Valance: Next step to see people indoors on May 17th. We don’t get to know the impact of the changes from the 29th March. Only when we get through the steps can we start looking at other things like social distancing.

Whitty: As we go through the vaccine programme, protection increases and probability of spread is reduced. 

City Am: You said it was too early to confirm international travel. Will you give aviation industry notice? London has been the hardest hit economically, what can you do to support them?

Boris: We’ll give aviation notice. And London will bounce back when we get it working again in a safe way. 

It may take a while but London will make a come back when the cultural sector opens back up. 

Thanks 

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