BRITAIN is expected to hit the 50million target for Covid jabs today — as the number getting their second vaccination topped 15million yesterday.
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But tempering the optimism, insiders have warned that “green” list holiday destinations could still turn “red” at the last minute on the travel traffic light system.
The announcements were made yesterday as 1,671 new cases and 14 additional deaths were recorded as the lockdown measures and the jabs rollout continued to curb the spread of the virus.
Mr Johnson praised people for their contributions as he hailed the one-third of adults who have now had their two jabs.
He tweeted: “15million people across our United Kingdom have received two doses of a Covid vaccine.
“Thank you to everyone who has made this possible. Please keep coming forward to get your jabs to give yourself maximum protection from the virus.”
He believes there is no reason not to continue with his blueprint as planned as the rollout continues on track and cases remain low.
The PM will be told it is safe to scrap social distancing after June 21, it was claimed last night.
However, Brits may be told to keep their masks on for months as the price of relaxing the one metre-plus rule.
Sources said interim results of relaxing social distancing at recent trial events had been positive.
It would mean that pubs and restaurants would finally be able to open at full capacity.
Downing Street is also preparing to announce that people can hug family and friends from May 17.
Brits are set to be told to keep their distance from others they do not live with for the time being.
Mr Johnson has said he wants to relax all Covid rules next month if the data allows but No10 dismissed the claims as “speculation”.
Strict funeral limits, however, are certain to go weeks earlier than planned, with individual venues saying how many people to admit
Millions have been unable to pay their final respects to loved ones during the pandemic.
Downing Street sources said the decision comes in response to the success of the vaccination programme, but has also been made to recognise the “huge sacrifices” the public has made by sticking to lockdown rules for so long.
A source said: “We are able to take this action as part of a cautious return to normal life.”
But the move is likely to put additional pressure on the PM to lift lockdown rules relating to weddings, social distancing and indoor mixing sooner than planned.
Foreign Secretary Raab confirmed that “almost all” restrictions were set to go on time.
But he said ministers will check the evidence on cases before making any calls.
He told the Covid-weary nation: “We’re nearly there.”
But he added: “There will still need to be some safeguards in place . . . particularly around social distancing, maybe something around masks.”
He dismissed calls to end lockdown sooner.
He explained: “We are very close now, really close to turning the corner — we don’t want to see the gains lost.
“There’s only a little bit more time to go, it’s right that we do it in a careful way.
“Just hang on, keep being guided by the science and the evidence.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock echoed the need for people to get their second shot.
He said: “It is absolutely vital to ensure people are getting the strongest possible protection from this deadly virus.”
Among those receiving the second dose yesterday was Loose Women panellist Ruth Langsford.
The TV presenter, 61, had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at a “busy” and “well-organised” hub in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.
She posted a snap on Instagram, telling followers she was “so grateful” and thanking the “wonderful doctors, nurses and volunteers”.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson will hold meeting this week to hammer out which countries will get the green light for free travel, meaning quarantine can be ditched.
The traffic light system will force travellers returning from “amber” countries to quarantine at home.
Those coming back from “red” Covid hotspots will have to stay in a top-security quarantine hotel at a cost to them of £1,750.
Mr Johnson will aim to give at least two weeks’ notice before changing any country, allowing holidaymakers more certainty.
But insiders said holidays may still be ruined at the last minute in the event of an extreme surge or new variant of concern.
One source said: “There can be emergency short-notice changes if something horrible crops up.”
Only “a handful” of countries are expected to be added to the initial green list.
Officials hope the number will grow as jab rollouts continue during the summer.