THE Prime Minister has described the vaccine rollout as a step forward but insists this is not the time to relax.

In a televised address to the nation last night, Boris Johnson stated that it was a moment to accelerate the vaccine programme and not to take the pressure off the virus.

The Prime Minister welcomed an “unprecedented national achievement” of vaccinating 15 million of the most vulnerable people in the UK ahead of the target deadline on Monday.

But he said that “they must keep their foot on the floor” as ministers reviewing coronavirus restrictions in England come under pressure from lockdown-sceptical Tory MPs to commit to a swift reopening.

Whilst the Prime Minister expressed his wish to ease restrictions as soon as possible he was unable to comment on any specific date with any definitive changes.

Currently more than 15 million people have received their first dose of the vaccine and more than 90% of people have responded to offers from the NHS.

While 90% of those vaccinated were over 70, 60% of current hospital patients care are under 70.

The Prime Minister said: “Now is not a moment to relax. It is a moment to accelerate.

“The threat remains very real.

The programme is going well, and we have rounds for confidence, however the vaccinations have only been running for a matter of weeks.

“We need to keep our foot on the floor.”

It has been announced that the initial steps for the second dose rollout will begin in early to mid March, 12 weeks after the initial vaccine rollout.

The Government will also work to expand the programme for young people living in care.

The Premier also told the Downing Street press conference that no decisions had been taken ahead of detailing his “road map” on February 22, urging people to take any speculation with a “pinch of salt”.

“We want this lockdown to be the last. And we want progress to be cautious but also irreversible,” he said.

The number of recorded coronavirus cases in Cumbria increased by 280 over the weekend, according to official figures on the unfolding pandemic.

Across the UK, the number of recorded cases increased by 34,044 over the period, to 4,047,843.

Cumbria’s cases were among the 557,077 recorded across the North West, a figure which rose by 5,300 over the period.

Cumulative case counts include patients who are currently unwell, have recovered and those that have died.