Tuesday, August 3, 2021
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Johnson says country is making progress ‘step by step’ a year after lockdown

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The country has endured a year-long “epic of endurance and privation” since the first coronavirus lockdown, Boris Johnson said amid warnings that another wave of infections is inevitable.

The Prime Minister who promised a memorial to those who have died in the pandemic, said the nation is “step by step, jab by jab” on the path to “reclaiming our freedoms” on the anniversary of the first lockdown.

But England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned there would be “bumps and twists on the road”, possibly including the emergence of new variants and shortages in vaccine supplies.

However the success of the vaccination rollout meant that when a new surge happens, it will be met with a “wall of vaccinated people” which will significantly reduce the ratio between the number of cases and the resulting death toll.

People across the UK took part in a minute’s silence to remember Covid-19 victims after a terrible 12 months.

MPs and peers in both Houses of Parliament and ministers in the devolved nations marked the anniversary at midday, while NHS and social care workers also joined the pause for reflection.

The Queen reflected on the “grief and loss felt by so many” as she paid tribute to the service of health and care workers in a message to St Bartholomew’s Hospital where the Duke of Edinburgh had heart surgery.

At a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said: “For the entire British people it has been an epic of endurance and privation, of children’s birthday parties cancelled, of weddings postponed, of family gatherings of all kinds simply deleted from the diary.

“And worst of all, in that time, we have suffered so many losses and for so many people our grief has been made more acute because we have not been able to see our loved ones.”

New figures from the Office for National Statistics showed a total of 149,117 people have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.

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