Johnson is optimistic that England will fully reopen on 21 June


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday he was extremely optimistic that all COVID-19 restrictions in England would expire on June 21, and added that the government would conduct a review on the use of vaccine certificates.

Johnson unveiled an exit map from lockdown in England on Monday that would keep some businesses closed until the summer, saying caution is necessary to ensure there are no setbacks on a “one-way road to freedom”.

Asked about the June 21 deadline for ending restrictions, Johnson told broadcasters: “I am optimistic, but clearly nothing can be guaranteed … I am very optimistic that we will be able to get there.”

With nearly 130,000 deaths, Britain has suffered from the fifth highest official death toll in the world due to the pandemic and its economy has seen its largest collapse in more than 300 years.

But in two months’ time, it has already delivered an initial dose of the vaccine to more than a quarter of the population, which is the fastest spread of any large country, making it a test case for governments around the world hoping to return life to normal.

Some in Johnson’s Conservative Party questioned whether the reopening schedule would have been faster, given the success so far in rolling out the vaccine in Britain.

Earlier, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said safety is the priority.

“We are all absolutely determined to get out of this as quickly as possible safely, but not faster,” Hancock said on Sky News.

The roadmap indicates that restrictions on nightclubs and big events will be the last to be lifted on June 21, although the government has stressed that the reopening will be led by data, not dates.

Johnson also said Senior Secretary Michael Gove will lead a review to pose the “scientific, ethical, philosophical and ethical” question of vaccine certificates for those who have received the coronavirus shot, which could facilitate the reopening of entertainment and hospitality venues.

“There are deep and complex issues that we need to explore, ethical issues about the government’s role in authorizing all people to have such a thing,” he said.

“We cannot discriminate against people who cannot get vaccinated for whatever reason. There may be medical reasons that prevent people from getting vaccinated … Some people may really refuse to get a vaccine.”

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