Last reviewed 15 June 2021
Given the widespread pessimistic predictions in the days leading up to his announcement, it would have been a major surprise if the Prime Minister had said that the final stage of his roadmap to freedom had been successfully completed.
In the event, and against the wishes of many of his backbenchers, Mr Johnson confirmed that the speed of transmission of the Delta variant of the virus, and the increasing number of people being admitted to hospital in England, meant that the easing of restrictions on 21 June could not go ahead.
Four more weeks, the Prime Minister explained, would give the NHS time to give double vaccinations to around two-thirds of the adult population including everyone over 50, all the vulnerable and all the frontline health and care workers.
In order to reduce the risk of transmission among groups that mix the most, Mr Johnson announced a new target to give every adult in the country a first dose by 19 July, including young people over the age of 18.
With effect from 15 June, 23- and 24-year-olds will be invited to book their vaccinations.
Some changes allowed
Although most of the remaining restrictions will have to stay in place until the new deadline of 19 July, including advice to work from home where possible, the Prime Minister did make a few concessions.
Weddings can go ahead with no limit on guests, provided social distancing remains in place, a risk assessment has been carried out and only table service is allowed. The same will apply to wakes.
Coronavirus pilot events will continue as planned, including upcoming Euro 2020 games, and the current recommendation for care home residents to isolate for 14 days after returning from visits outside the home will no longer be required.
There is also a (slight) possibility that the deadline may be brought forward to 5 July.
“We will monitor the position every day,” Mr Johnson concluded, “and if, after two weeks, we have concluded that the risk has diminished, then we reserve the possibility of proceeding to Step 4 and full opening sooner.”
The full text of his latest statement can be found at www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-at-coronavirus-press-conference-14-june-2021.