LONDON, Feb. 15 (CNA) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will judge this week how fast England can exit COVID-19 lockdown after vaccinating 15 million of its most vulnerable people, but the health minister said death and hospital admission numbers were still too high.
With nearly a quarter of the United Kingdom's population now inoculated with a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in a little more than two months, Johnson is under pressure from some lawmakers and businesses to reopen the shuttered economy.
"We've got to watch the data," Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News. "Everybody wants to get out of this as quickly as we safely can, and both as quickly, but also as safely, are important."
"The question is a judgment of how quickly and safely, how quickly we can do that safely. That's the judgment that we're making this week, looking at the data, ahead of the prime minister setting out the roadmap, on the 22nd," he said.
The biggest and swiftest global vaccine roll-out in history is seen as the best chance of exiting the COVID-19 pandemic which has killed 2.4 million people, tipped the global economy into its worst peacetime slump since the Great Depression and upended normal life for billions.
Britain has vaccinated 15.062 million people with a first dose and 537,715 with a second dose, the fastest roll-out per capita of any large country.