The Prime Minister warned the nation must be cautious despite hailing today as a “big day for many of us” at the first stage of the gradual unlocking.
Speaking from the new £2.6 million Downing Street press room, the PM urged the public not to be complacent.
He said: “It’s only because of months of sacrifice and effort that we can take this small step towards freedom today and we must proceed with caution.
“It’s great to see that yesterday we recorded the lowest number of new infections for six months, deaths and hospital admissions across the UK are continuing to fall.
“That wave is still rising across the channel and it’s inevitable, as we advance on this road map, that there will be more infections and unavoidably more hospitalisations, and sadly more deaths.”
Mr Johnson defended his stance, insisting being cautious is the only “way to get the results that we want”.
He explained: “Already because of the relaxation that we’ve seen, almost certainly because of the opening of schools again, you’re starting to see some of those graphs slightly curl a bit like old British Rail sandwiches, moving upwards a little bit in the younger groups.
“You’ve seen what’s happening on the continent and we’ve seen that happen before, that’s why it’s so vital that, you know, we do what we’re doing right now.
“We continue to fortify the population, roll out the vaccine at the speed that we are, make sure, as Chris and Patrick say, everybody gets their second dose when they’re asked to come forward, when they’re given their turn.
“But, you know, just make sure that we are cautious in our approach, I think that’s the way to get the results that we want.”
The PM also confirmed that a deal had been done with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to provide “fill and finish” capacity at its Barnard Castle facility in the North East of England for the Novavax vaccine.
The region became known nationwide after Dominic Cummings travelled 260 miles with his family to be near relatives when his wife developed Covid-19 symptoms at the end of March last year.