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June 21 lift still on track as PM looks at booster jabs and antivirals

Peterborough nightclubs and businesses operating at reduced capacity will welcome news that plans to lift lockdown on June 21 remains on track so far, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
June 21 lift still on track as PM looks at booster jabs and antivirals (Picture: PA)

The road-map which currently sees Step 3 and 4 still to come – households mixing indoors, rule of six in hospitality, indoor entertainment reopening, followed by a complete lift of rules on June 21 – is expected to stay in place as Boris Johnson declares it is on track. 

For the first time since September, the latest figures showed fewer than 2,000 Covid-19 patients in hospital; across North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, they confirmed that there are currently 20 patients with coronavirus across their hospitals. 

In a bid to continue lifting lockdown, Mr Johnson explained that a new taskforce has been launched to identify antiviral treatments and addressed his plans for the booster Covid-19 jab. 

At a Downing Street press conference yesterday, April 20, he said: "As we look at what is happening in other countries, with cases now at record numbers around the world, we cannot delude ourselves that Covid has gone away.

"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 out.

"But the majority of scientific opinion in this country is still firmly of the view that there will be another wave of Covid at some stage this year.

"And so we must, as far as possible, learn to live with this disease as we live with other diseases."

Mr Johnson suggested that antivirals could be a third method of defence, along with vaccinations – including booster shots – and mass testing.

The antiviral taskforce will seek out new medicines to "stop the virus in its tracks", hopefully producing simple treatments that can be taken at home.

It is hoped that antivirals could help to reduce infections and limit the impact of any new variants.

They may also help to protect people who cannot take vaccines or those who are not fully protected after having the jab.

Officials hope to find and bring two treatments online this year.