Coronavirus UK Updates: No lifting restrictions before March, hints minister

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Covid UK: Extra 1.7m vulnerable added to shielding list
Covid UK: Extra 1.7m vulnerable added to shielding list

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has suggested that a gradual easing of lockdown restrictions will not begin before early March.

He told BBC Breakfast: “If we take the mid-February target, two weeks after that you get your protection, pretty much, for the Pfizer/BioNTech, three weeks for the Oxford/AstraZeneca, you are protected.

“One of the things we don’t know yet, and the deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam is on record as saying ‘look give me a couple of months and I’ll tell you’, is the impact of the vaccine on transmission rates ie on infecting people.

“So there are a number of caveats that stand in the way of us reopening the economy.

“It will be gradually, it will be probably through the tiered system but you’re looking at that sort of period, two to three weeks after the middle of February, after we’ve protected the top four cohorts.”

– Supply ‘remains challenging’, says minister

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said vaccine supply “remains challenging” and is the limiting factor in the rollout of coronavirus jabs.

He told BBC Breakfast: “We now have built a deployment infrastructure that can deploy as much vaccine as it comes through.

“And so it’s the vaccine supply – which remains lumpy, it remains challenging, you may have read over the weekend probably some of the challenges around Pfizer and of course Oxford/AstraZeneca – but I’m confident we can meet our target mid-Feb, (for) those top four cohorts.”

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