Boris Johnson admits Eat Out to Help Out may have spread coronavirus

BORIS Johnson has admitted that the government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme may have spread Covid-19.

The PM was accused of being "complacent and blasé" towards the pandemic by the BBC's Andrew Marr this morning.

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Marr suggested the government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme and encouragement for people to get back to work had helped spread the virus.

Mr Johnson said he took "full responsibility for everything that has happened since the pandemic began".

He said the Eat Out To Help Out scheme was "very important" to support the hospitality sector.

"Insofar as that scheme may have helped to spread the virus then obviously we need to counteract that with the discipline and the measures that we're proposing," he said.

The PM said the government was trying to strike a "balance" throughout the pandemic between protecting the health of Brits while also limiting damage to the economy.

"We had to go into lockdown in March and April and that was effective in bringing the virus down," he said.

"I think it was right to reopen the economy.

"If we hadn't done that, if we hadn't got things moving again in the summer, we would be looking at many more hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, billions, tens, hundreds of billions more gone from the economy."

The Eat Out To Help Out scheme saw the government pay for 50 per cent of people's food and non-alcoholic drinks at pubs and restaurants on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during August.

The popular scheme was introduced by chancellor Rishi Sunak to help boost the flagging hospitality sector and revive Britain's pubs and restaurants, which had been ravaged by lockdown.

BUMPY ROAD TO CHRISTMAS

Mr Johnson also gave hope of finding a coronavirus vaccine in weeks but warned of a "bumpy Christmas and beyond".

Boris warned of a tough winter for us all but said the nation will be in a different place by spring.

And he hopes that scientific progress – including testing capacity and a potential vaccine – will help ease restrictions.

He said: "In the course of the next few weeks the scientific equation will change.

"We'll start to see progress on vaccines and testing that will allow us to change the way we do things."

The Prime Minister said he "appreciated the fatigue" Brits are facing under current restrictions, but warned the road ahead will continue to be bumpy.

He said: "This is going to be bumpy through to Christmas. It may even be bumpy beyond but this is the only way to do it."

The PM went on to preempt the situation next year, suggesting the nation will be better equipped to face the virus as the months go on.

He said the government were working "flat out" to try to make things easier for Brits by Christmas.

"It is still very possible that there are bumpy, bumpy days ahead," he said.

"It could be a very tough winter for all of us but by the spring, things will be radically different and we'll be in a different world.

"There are different treatments now available that weren't a few months ago and that's changed the equation."

It comes after cases in the UK soared by 12,872 yesterday, with the number of infections almost doubling the previous daily record of 7,143.

Covid deaths also went up by 49, bringing the overall toll in Britain to 42,317.


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