Several hurdles still on the way of Covid vaccine; says Boris Johnson

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LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the development of a coronavirus vaccine has “cleared one significant hurdle but there are several more to go”. He said early findings showing a jab could prevent 90% of people getting Covid-19 were positive, but added it was “very, very early days”.

Addressing a press conference at 10—Downing Street, he warned people not to “rely on this news as a solution” to the pandemic. “The biggest mistake we could make now would be to slacken our resolve at a critical moment,” he said.

LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing a press conference at 10-Downing Street.

It came as a further 21,350 coronavirus cases were reported in the UK on Monday, along with 194 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

The prime minister said “if and when” the vaccine was approved for use, the UK “will be ready to use it”. He said 40 million doses – enough to vaccinate up to 20 million people – had been ordered, putting the UK near the front of the queue of countries in securing the jab.

Mr Johnson said he had talked for a long time about “the distant bugle of the scientific cavalry coming over the brow of the hill” with a solution. “I can tell you that tonight that toot of the bugle is louder, but it’s still some way off, we absolutely cannot rely on this news as a solution,” he said.

The prime minister said “if and when” the vaccine was approved for use, the UK “will be ready to use it”. He said 40 million doses – enough to vaccinate up to 20 million people – had been ordered, putting the UK near the front of the queue of countries in securing the jab.

Mr Johnson said he had talked for a long time about “the distant bugle of the scientific cavalry coming over the brow of the hill” with a solution. “I can tell you that tonight that toot of the bugle is louder, but it’s still some way off, we absolutely cannot rely on this news as a solution,” he said.

Boris Johnson offered little hope for London businesses hoping to escape from lockdown before December 2. He said that although the case rate in the capital was “flattening”, he had seen new data this morning that showed it was doubling in the nation as a whole.

But Mr Johnson said it was “no accident” that London and some other areas were seeing a lower gradient of cases.  “This is because of the heroic collective efforts and sacrifice that the people of London, and elsewhere the Northeast, [where] it’s flattening,” he said.

Meanwhile, GPs in England have been told to prepare to give patients two vaccine doses – to be delivered between 21 and 28 days apart – during clinics that could run between 08:00 and 20:00 GMT seven days a week as early as December, according to the British Medical Association (BMA).