23 June – Boris Johnson: Eyes Up

(spoken whilst looking roughly toward camera)

Good evening,

Could I have the first slide please?,

On the sixteenth of April, we set out our five tests for adjusting the lockdown, and since then they have guided our path out of lockdown.

At every stage, we have diligently assessed our progress against these five tests before making changes.

And it has meant that we have, so far, avoided the catastrophe of a second peak of infection that could have overwhelmed the NHS and meant so many more lives lost.

Next slide please.

Our first test is to protect the NHS’s ability to cope, so that we are confident that we are able to provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment right across the UK.

Well, the NHS has coped fantastically under the extraordinary pressure of this extraordinary pandemic.

On 20 June, two hundred people were admitted to hospital with coronavirus in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - down from four hundred and thirty eight two weeks earlier, and down from a peak of three thousand four hundred and thirty two on the first of April.

And on the twenty second of June, three hundred and forty patients with coronavirus were in mechanical ventilation beds in the UK, down from five hundred and thirteen two weeks earlier, and down from a peak of three thousand three hundred and one on the twelfth April.

These numbers provide confidence that we are still meeting the first test.

Next slide please.

Our second test is to see a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates from COVID-19 so that we're confident that we've moved beyond the peak.

Of those who have tested positive for coronavirus, across all settings, it saddens me to report that forty two thousand nine hundred and twenty seven have now died. A hundred and seventy one fatalities were reported in the twenty four hours to five pm yesterday. A further one hundred and nine deaths which occurred in April, May and June have been identified and added to the total.

As measured by a seven-day rolling average, the UK daily death rate now stands at one hundred and twenty one, down from two hundred and sixteen two weeks ago, and down from a peak of nine hundred and forty three on the fourteenth April.

The second test is, therefore, still being met.

Next slide please.

Our third test is to receive reliable data from SAGE showing that the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board.

In total, three hundred and six thousand, two hundred and ten people have now tested positive for coronavirus, which is an increase of eight hundred and seventy four cases since yesterday.

The seven day rolling average of new positive cases is now one thousand one hundred and forty seven, down from one thousand five hundred and forty three two weeks ago, and down from a peak of five thousand one hundred and ninety five on the fourteenth of April.

Approximately one in seventeen hundred people in the community in England are now estimated to have the virus, down from one in four hundred four weeks ago. SAGE believes infections across the UK are shrinking at a steady rate of between four and two per cent every day.

Based on all the various data available, the government is confident the third test is being met.

Next slide please.

Our fourth test is that we must be confident that the range of operational challenges, including on testing capacity and Personal Protective Equipment, are in hand, with supply able to meet future demand.

Yesterday two hundred and thirty seven thousand one hundred and forty two tests were carried out or posted out across the UK, compared to around twelve thousand at the start of April.

The new NHS Test and Trace service has already advised over eighty seven thousand people to self-isolate who might otherwise have unwittingly transmitted the virus.

We have contracted with over a hundred and seventy five new suppliers able to deliver PPE at the scale and pace the UK requires.

And this progress means we are satisfied that the fourth test is being met.

Our fifth and final test is that we must be confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that might overwhelm the NHS.

I am once again grateful for the Chief Scientific Adviser and the Chief Medical Officer for their advice on the measures I am about to set out.

I can confirm that the government judges we have met the fifth test and we're therefore satisfied that all five tests are still being met.

On the eleventh of May, we set out our plan to recover.

And that plan as you may remember set out three steps for adjusting the lockdown.

Step one was implemented, as planned, on the thirteenth of May, enabling people to spend more time outdoors.

Step two was implemented, as planned, in phases on the first and the fifteenth of June. Shops have opened, children have started to return to school and people have been able to see more of their loved ones.

Now Step three can be implemented, as planned, on the fourth of July.

All the measures I am about to set out apply to England - the devolved administrations are responsible for adjusting lockdown in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, moving at the pace they believe is right for them.

After a long period of asking you, the British public, to follow very strict and complex rules to bring coronavirus under control, we can now make life easier for people to see more of their friends and family, and to help businesses get back on their feet and people back into jobs.

Critically, we can make a change to the guidance on two metres, which kept us safe while transmission of the virus was high but which can now be modified.

Having considered all the evidence, whilst staying at two metres is preferable, we can now move to “one metre plus” where it is not possible for us to stay two metres apart. That means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.

And these precautions could include installing screens, making sure people face away from each other, providing handwashing facilities, minimising the amount of time you spend with people outside your household, and of course being outdoors.

On public transport, it means one metre plus wearing a face covering for mitigation, as everybody I think now understands.

We are setting out COVIDSecure guidance to help businesses to take the measures that are right for them.

We can also allow more sectors to reopen on the fourth of July, as planned for Step three.

So, from the fourth of July, the following premises will be allowed to reopen provided they are COVID-Secure:

hotels, bed and breakfasts and self-contained holiday accommodation

caravan parks, and campsites

places of worship and libraries

restaurants and cafes

bars, pubs and social clubs

cinemas and bingo halls

museums and galleries

hair salons and barbers

outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms

This has been an incredibly tough time for these establishments. But I hope that everyone working in them can take confidence in knowing they will be able to open their doors once again in just a couple of weeks’ time.

And of course it goes without saying they should do so in a way that is COVID Secure, keeping customers and staff safe.

But I am afraid to say that some premises, such as nightclubs, swimming pools and indoor gyms, must remain closed the time being given the particular risks of transmission in those settings. However, we are establishing taskforces for those sectors to establish how they too can open, in a COVID-Secure way, as fast as possible.

At the same time, we can give people more freedom to see their friends and family.

From the fourth of July, your household will be able to meet with one other household at a time, including staying over.

This can be indoors or outside, at your home, in a restaurant or pub, or in paid accommodation.

I want to stress you should remain socially distant from anyone outside your household.

For meeting outdoors, you can continue to meet in a park or a garden in a group of up to six people, drawn from six different households.

Again, at all times you should maintain social distancing from anyone outside your household.

As we give people back more control over their lives, we will be asking them to follow guidance on limiting their social contact, rather than forcing them to do so through legislation.

And this obviously requires everyone to act responsibly, which I have no doubt they will do. It will still be possible for the police to break up large and irresponsible gatherings. But neither the police themselves, or the public that they serve, want virtually every aspect of our behaviour to be subject to the criminal law.

Yesterday the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and the Health Secretary set out updated advice for those who are shielding in England, so that they can soon start to return to leading more normal lives.

Opening up more of Britain in this COVID-Secure way is only possible if everyone continues to stay alert to the risks of coronavirus.

That means you should:

stay two metres apart and if you can’t do that then keep one metre apart with mitigations

wash your hands regularly

wear face coverings on public transport, or where you are indoors in a crowded environment where distancing is not possible

follow the rules when visiting businesses

crucially, get a test done immediately if you develop symptoms

and self-isolate, self-isolate if you are asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace

We're only able to make these changes because we have persevered together and stuck to our path.

We had five tests - and we met them.

We had a plan - and we stuck to it.

The government has asked a huge amount of all of you, and you've met that challenge the people of this country have met that challenge with good humour and common sense.

Of course, the fight is far from over. This is a nasty virus still that wants to take advantage of our carelessness. There will be I’m afraid, there will be local outbreaks. And I must tell you that if the virus were to begin to run out of control, I will not hesitate to put on the handbrake on and reverse some of these changes, at a local or indeed national level as required.

But we can avoid that if we all continue to stay alert and do our bit to control the virus. The British public have proved again and again, not that it was ever in doubt it, that they can be trusted to do the right thing and to do it with common sense.

There is no doubt we are beating back this virus and, with your continued cooperation and good judgment we will beat it once and for all.

I’ll now hand over to Patrick.