Under the Government’s own roadmap out of lockdown, social distancing measures will be removed from June 21 but doubts about the move had begun to emerge in recent weeks – with suggestion mask-wearing and distancing would continue beyond the summer deadline.
The roadmap read: “Ahead of Step 4 [21 June], as more is understood about the impact of vaccines on transmission and a far greater proportion of the population has been vaccinated, the government will complete a review of social distancing measures and other long-term measures that have been put in place to limit transmission.
“The results of the review will help inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which rules on 1m+, face masks and other measures may be lifted.”
Mr Johnson also confirmed the Government is hoping to proceed with further openings of the British economy on May 17.
Among the next steps included in the reopening roadmap is the restart of some foreign travel after over a year of widespread shutdown for most of the tourism sector both in the UK and abroad.
The Prime Minister continued: “The Joint Security Committee is having a look at exactly which countries they think are going to be safe.
“But I do think it’s important to be cautious in this. We do want to do some opening up on May 17 but I don’t think the people of this country want to see an influx of disease from anywhere else.
“I certainly don’t and we got to be very, very tough and be as cautious as we can whilst we continue to open up.”
Mr Johnson has been facing calls from opposition parties to come up with a strong strategy to avoid the hiccuping reopening to travel as in 2020.
Speaking during a campaign visit to Lewisham on Monday, Sir Keri Starmer said he will “wait and see” what the Government announces.
Sir Keir told reporters: “We need to be very careful. I think it’s clear that the virus is increasing in some countries around the world, so we have to be very, very careful,” he told reporters.
“What we can’t have is a repeat of last summer, where the lists were chopping and changing on a daily or even weekly basis.”