THE PM yesterday said Brits could boost resilience to Covid by getting fit in the sun — and revealed 60million new jabs will be made in the UK.
Boris Johnson said he could not wait to play tennis again as lockdown is eased.
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He added: “We can take advantage of this beautiful weather to build national resilience.”
The new Novavax jab is also being produced in the North East, he said.
He hailed the “significant new weapon in the armoury” against the virus as we took a “small step to freedom” yesterday.
With cooped-up Brits flocking outside for long-awaited meet-ups, he said: “I know how much it will have meant to millions of people to have joined someone else for a cup of tea in the garden.”
Organised sports were also once again allowed across the country, with busy golf courses, tennis courts and swimming pools.
Stressing the benefits of exercise to build “resilience” to Covid, Mr Johnson said: “I am personally thrilled that I will be able to play tennis, for instance.”
He went on: “We can take advantage of this moment and the beautiful weather to play sport, to take exercise, to have fun and build our national resilience in that way too.”
He also used yesterday’s milestone to unveil a new jab bottling factory in the North East.
After weeks of sniping with Brussels over threats to block exports of vaccines to the UK, 60million doses will be made domestically.
Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline will use its plant at Barnard Castle, Co Durham, to bottle the new Novavax jab, currently pending a green light from the regulator.
The Barnard Castle revelation came almost a year to the day since the PM’s then-aide Dominic Cummings broke lockdown rules with a day trip to the market town.
He later claimed he was testing his eyesight, and the subsequent row over the Brexit guru’s visit knocked the Government for six.
Last night social media erupted at the news, with the Prime Minister’s supporters declaring the choice of town as “epic banter” while critics accused him of “trolling the public”.
Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said: “At the same time as we push forwards with our programme to offer a vaccination to all adults by the end of July, we’re building up our own long-term UK manufacturing capabilities.
“Novavax, a potentially significant new weapon in our armoury against Covid, is going to be made at FujiFilm in the North East.
“I can today announce that the Vaccine Taskforce has reached an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline to finish and bottle this precious fluid also in the North East, giving us between 50 and 60million doses of UK-made vaccine subject to the right approvals from the MHRA.”
In a dig at Brussels’ rollout failures, Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: “We’ve all seen just how important onshore vaccine manufacturing capabilities are, and this fantastic deal will ensure more of these vital products can be produced here in the UK.”
In a further boost, people in England can now travel up and down the country, it emerged yesterday. It was expected that the “stay home” message would be replaced with “stay local” guidance.
But instead people were told to “minimise travel” — with no limits on how far people can drive to see loved ones.
A Whitehall source said last night: “There’s an understanding that people are going to travel to see relatives after all this time.”
Minister Nigel Huddleston urged people to think carefully before going anywhere — but confirmed there would be no curbs on distance.
He toldSky News: “What we don’t want is people intermixing in different parts of the country to any greater degree than necessary.”
People will also be allowed to nip into friends’ homes to use the loo — or go through them to get to the garden.
I must stress that it is only because of months of sacrifice and effort that we can take this small step to freedom today.
But ministers and medics spent the day urging people: “Just please be sensible.”
Mr Johnson also thanked Brits who had “overwhelmingly” obeyed the rules over the past 85 days. He said: “I must stress that it is only because of months of sacrifice and effort that we can take this small step to freedom today.”
On a day that saw the lowest virus rates in six months, the PM added: “What we need to do is continue flat-out to build the immunity of our population.”
Prof Chris Whitty, chief medical officer, said most of those at greatest risk of death or serious illness from Covid had now received the jab.
But he warned it spreads most rapidly among younger age groups which had yet to be vaccinated.
There were already signs of an increase in infections among children of school age following the reopening of classes in England earlier this month, he added.
Scientists and ministers also warned people not to hug friends and family just yet — and to stay socially distanced if they can.
Mr Huddleston urged people to “call out” family and friends who do not stick to the rules. He added: “Please don’t do the hugging. At the moment the message is, ‘Still be cautious’.”
Asked when Brits could embrace again, ex-Government adviser Sir Mark Walport said: “When the evidence shows that the case number is really, really low indeed.”
Up to a million people living with extremely vulnerable Brits are also being bumped up the queue for Covid jabs.
Households of those with a weakened immune system will now be prioritised for the vaccine, as it helps stop spread of the infection.
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It includes adults residing with a patient with blood cancer, HIV or undergoing chemotherapy.
Officials say the move could result in a million extra people being prioritised.
Mr Hancock has asked the NHS to offer a first Covid dose to these as soon as possible.
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