Boris Johnson gets his own lockdown date wrong in live TV announcement to the nation

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Boris Johnson tonight announced the wrong date of his own lockdown change in a live TV address to the nation.

The Prime Minister wrongly said step four of the roadmap would only begin on July 29 in a speech at Downing Street.

In fact, while step four of England’s roadmap has been delayed, it has only been pushed back to July 19.

The PM – who had a long weekend at the G7 and NATO summits – also talked about when “the adults of this company have been overwhelmingly vaccinated”, rather than the adults of this country.

England will remain at step three of the PM’s roadmap for four more weeks – limiting indoor parties to six people and meaning nightclubs must stay shut.

Masks will continue in shops and on public transport, work-from-home guidance will carry on, and table service remains in pubs.

But thousands of couples will get a reprieve – as weddings and receptions will be allowed to go ahead with more than 30 attendees.

Rules on wakes and care home visits will also be relaxed slightly from next Monday.

Meanwhile, vital reviews spelling out future rules around social distancing and Covid passports have not materialised.

Mr Johnson made the gaffe while announcing the date of the delay.

He said: “To give the NHS that extra time, we will hold off step four openings until July 29.”

The PM said he would exclude weddings, which “can still go ahead with more than 30 guests provided social distancing remains in place”.

However, he later recovered from the error by repeatedly referring to July 19.

He said by July 19 around two-thirds of the adult population would have received two jabs, including all over-50s, the vulnerable and health and care workers, along with over-40s who had received a first dose by mid-May.

“To do this we will now accelerate the second jabs for those over 40, just as we did for the vulnerable groups, so they get the maximum protection as fast as possible.

“We will bring forward our target to give every adult in this country a first dose by July 19.”

The Prime Minister took the decision after scientists warned pushing ahead risked a surge in hospital cases as bad as the first wave last April.

Boris Johnson at today’s press conference
(Image: PA)

He said he was “so concerned” that the Delta strain was “spreading faster than the third wave predicted in the February roadmap.”

Back then, scientists had predicted more than 30,000 further Covid deaths between February 2021 and summer 2022.

But the government has now received advice that the Delta (Indian) variant is between 40% and 80% more transmissible than the Alpha (Kent) strain – much higher than first thought.

The PM said if June 21 went ahead, “there is a real possibility that the virus will outrun the vaccines and thousands more deaths would ensue that could otherwise have been avoided.”

He added: “It’s unmistakably clear the vaccines are working and the sheer scale of the vaccine roll-out has made our position incomparably better than in previous waves.

“But now is the time to ease off the accelerator, because by being cautious now we have the chance in the next four weeks to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”

There is no guarantee step four will not be delayed again, and the move to step four will only be confirmed on July 12.

But Boris Johnson ’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister is confident we will not need any more than a four-week delay”.

The PM added: “I’m pretty confident that July 19 will be a terminus date”.

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Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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