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Richard Tice, Chairman of Reform UK, criticised the Prime Minister’s new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 over the winter months. He said the UK should focus on protecting those who need it as many people can “survive quite happily”. Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Tice said: “We’re the only political party that had the courage to stand up and say this approach to coronavirus is fundamentally unnecessary.
“We should focus protection on those who need protection. The vulnerable, those who need shielding, the elderly that want protecting.
“The vast majority of people survive it quite happily and we’re got to learn to live with this virus.
“We mustn’t hide behind the sofa in fear.”
It comes as the Government announced travellers arriving in England will be able to end their quarantine period with a negative coronavirus test after five days from December 15.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said passengers who arrive from a destination not on the Government’s travel corridors list can reduce the 14-day period by paying for a test from a private firm after five days at a cost of £65-£120.
In a press conference on Monday evening, Mr Johnson said “we’re not out of the woods yet” despite a breakthrough with a British vaccine, warning the UK faced a “hard” start to 2021 but he expected “things will look and feel very different” after Easter.
He said with a “favourable wind” the majority of people most in need of vaccination might be able to get one by April, as the Oxford-AstraZeneca team said its jab had proved up to 90 percent effective.
It follows positive results from Pfizer and Moderna, but none of the jabs have yet been approved for use.
Mr Johnson, speaking via videolink at a Downing Street press conference as he continues his self-isolation, said: “We can hear the drumming hooves of the cavalry coming over the brow of the hill but they are not here yet.
“Even if all three vaccines are approved, even if the production timetables are met – and vaccines notoriously fall behind in their production timetables – it will be months before we can be sure we have inoculated everyone that needs a vaccine.”
He warned it is “not the moment to let the virus rip for the sake of Christmas parties”, saying: “Tis the season to be jolly, but it is also the season to be jolly careful, especially with elderly relatives.”
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Mr Johnson said the months ahead “will be hard, they will be cold, they include January and February when the NHS is under its greatest pressure”.
That pressure meant new tiers had to be introduced from December 2, replacing England’s lockdown, with more areas facing tougher restrictions than under the previous regional regime.
As well as the progress on vaccines, Mr Johnson pointed to the expansion of rapid mass testing as a way of returning to something approaching normality.
This could include greater freedoms for people who test negative and the prospect of daily tests replacing precautionary self-isolation for people who come into contact with an infected person.
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