Johnson & Johnson to ‘proactively delay’ vaccine rollout in Europe over blood clot reports – as it happened

Boris Johnson: easing lockdown will increase Covid infections and deaths

Easing lockdown will inevitably create a rise in coronavirus deaths, Boris Johnson has said, crediting the lockdown rather than vaccines for “the bulk of the work” in reducing recent infection rates.

While the prime minister’s comments were intended as a reminder to people to take care amid the latest loosening of rules in England, they are likely to annoy some Conservative backbenchers who are eager for reopening to happen more rapidly.

On Tuesday afternoon all Tory MPs were sent a letter from Matt Hancock, the health secretary, hailing the success in offering at least a first vaccination to everyone in the first phase of priority groups by mid-April. It argued that “it is because of the success of the vaccination rollout” that restrictions can be lifted:





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