Sajid Javid gave the grim figure as he insisted Boris Johnson is right to continue with the dramatic unlocking on July 19, saying the hospitalisations and deaths were what mattered. The PM was also given a boost this morning as ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson said he is ‘optimistic’ the ‘gamble’ of releasing restrictions will work – although he cautioned that cases could hit 200,000 a day and they might need to be reimposed if vaccines are slightly less effective than hoped and deaths surge.
As well as the threat of severe illness, that scale of infections could cause chaos as people are ‘pinged’ by test and trace and forced to self-isolate. However, in a round of interviews, Mr Javid revealed that he will be unveiling plans to allow people who are double-jabbed to sidestep the isolation rules and do daily tests instead. Government insiders have raised doubts about whether the system can be in place for July 19. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is also due to set out proposals for scrapping school ‘bubble’ rules that have been causing huge numbers to stay away from classes.