PROFESSOR Chris Whitty has said July 19 IS the right time to end restrictions, with England on track to open up as much as possible for summer, it's reported.

The chief medical officer for England told a cabinet briefing on Monday the country's recent spike in Covid cases was not leading to a sharp rise in hospital admissions.

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He told ministers that summer was the time to ease as many restrictions as possible, provided the number of patients in hospital with Covid doesn't rise.

But he warned winter would prove harder because the virus can spread more when people are indoors.

A cabinet source told The Times: “The view among the scientists was that we should get as much open this summer as possible before winter, which will be much more difficult.

"It was very encouraging.”

Another source said Prof Whitty had been “cautiously optimistic”.

Boris Johnson yesterday told the cabinet he was “increasingly confident” that all social-distancing rules will be removed on July 19 – and Brits will have to "learn to live" with the virus from there.

He said there had been “much shallower growth” in the number of deaths and patients requiring hospital care.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said: “Cabinet agreed that once we have completed the road map, we will be able to live with Covid in the future even if cases continue to rise, thanks to the protections provided by the vaccine.”

And a readout from the meeting said: "The Prime Minister outlined that yesterday we finalised the interim review and that the data shows cases continuing to rise but hospitalisations and deaths have seen a much shallower growth.

"He reiterated the Government's position that we are therefore increasingly confident in taking the final step on July 19, when even more vaccinations have been offered."

Yesterday, a total of 20,479 more Covid cases were recorded in the UK – an increase of 75 per cent over the course of the week.

Hospital admissions in England have doubled this month but are still averaging only 204 a day, compared with a peak of more than 4,000 in January.

And by July 19, two thirds of adults will have had both doses of their vaccines.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said last month that delaying the final relaxations until July 19 would halve the impact of a summer peak, but added that “it’s not very obvious that you get much more gain from going on longer”.

Meanwhile, new health secretary Sajid Javid said on Monday he wanted to get life back to normal "as soon as possible" and vowed there will be "no going back" once restrictions are finally ripped up in four weeks.

A total of 23 Covid-19 deaths were recorded yesterday, down from 27 last Tuesday.

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