He acknowledged that many of the things he is looking forward to, such as going to the theatre and playing village cricket, are still banned, but insisted the Government was “working as fast as we possibly can” and that Tuesday’s measures were not “the summit of our ambitions”.
Mr Johnson confirmed that pubs and restaurants will be expected to keep a register of their customers so that outbreaks can be swiftly contained, saying: “People should be giving their names to the pubs, to the restaurants, doing things in a way that allows us if something does happen, to track back, to test and trace and stamp out any outbreak.”
He said of July 4: “I hope it will be a great day, but obviously people have got to make sure they don’t overdo it. And we can’t have great, sort of, raving scenes in the beer gardens where the virus could be passed on.”
Mr Johnson said coronavirus has “not gone away” and he will not hesitate to “apply the brakes” and reintroduce restrictions if required, even on a national level if needed.
He added: “The Government has asked a huge amount of all of you, and the people in this country met that challenge with good humour and common sense. Of course the fight is far from over. This is a nasty virus still, that wants to take advantage of our carelessness.”
Prof Whitty said the virus will remain for “a very long time” because a vaccine is unlikely to be in use before next year.
He added: “I would be surprised and delighted if we weren’t in this current situation through the winter, and into next spring. I think then let’s regroup and work out where we are.
“I expect there to be significant amount of coronavirus circulating at least into that time. For the short to medium term, until this time next year, certainly, I think we should be planning for this, for what I consider to be a long haul out into 2021.”
On Tuesday, the British Medical Association called for face coverings to be worn “as a matter of course” in shops, schools, and even homes when guests are present.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the chairman of the British Medical Association Council, said: “For someone not wearing a face covering, and who has the virus or is a carrier, the risk of transmitting the virus to another person close by is 70 per cent.
“By the carrier wearing a covering, that drops to just five per cent. If a carrier and healthy person both wear masks, the probability of transmitting the virus is just 1.5 per cent.
“It makes absolute sense, therefore, that the wearing of masks will significantly help bring this pandemic further under control and reduce even further the risk of a second spike.”
A snap YouGov poll found that 47 per cent of the public thought the changes to lockdown were “about right”, with 37 per cent thinking the Prime Minister had gone too far and seven per cent saying he had not gone far enough.
A healthy majority of 73 per cent backed the move to allow households to meet up, with 64 per cent supporting the reopening of pubs, restaurants and other venues.