London, Jan 18 (AFP/APP): Britain on Monday extended its coronavirus vaccination campaign to people over the age of 70, as new, tougher restrictions for all arrivals to the country came into force.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said some four million people across the country had been vaccinated — half of them aged over 80, and another 50 percent care home workers and residents. The speed of the rollout — Britain’s biggest vaccination drive in history — was “encouraging”, he told Sky News.
Britain is under another lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, particularly from a new strain that has sent case numbers and deaths spiralling, and piled pressure on overstretched health services. Despite saying he hoped “things will be very different by the spring”, Johnson warned the lifting of restrictions would take time. “I’m afraid I’ve got to warn people, it will be gradual.
You can’t just open up in a great ‘Open Sesame’, in a great bang, because I’m afraid the situation is still pretty precarious,” he added. Britain has set itself an ambitious goal of vaccinating 15 million of the most vulnerable people by mid-February, and the entire adult population by the autumn.
“We can see a clear line of sight to vaccinating everyone by September,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a press conference. “Anything before that would be a bonus,” he added, amid optimism the target could be reached in the summer.
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