U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there are signs the national coronavirus lockdown is working, but warned it is “early days” and people must stick to the rules.
He didn’t rule out toughening restrictions if necessary, but told the House of Commons that the existing rules could be starting to help bring down infections. England is in the second week of its third national lockdown, with schools shut to most pupils and people ordered to stay at home.
“We are now seeing the beginnings of some signs that that is starting to have an effect in many parts of the country but by no means everywhere,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “It is early days and people must keep their discipline, keep enforcing the rules and work together to roll out the vaccine program.”
The premier said the rules are kept under “constant review,” but made clear he wants the country out of lockdown as soon as possible. “Nobody can doubt the serious damage that is done by lockdowns to people’s mental health, to jobs, to livelihoods,” he said.
Johnson also confirmed the government is working to provide coronavirus vaccines around the clock, telling lawmakers: “We will be going 24/7 as soon as we can.”
That appeared to contradict his own official spokesman, who told reporters earlier this week there is “no clamor” for appointments through the night. Mass vaccination centers are currently open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week.