During a press conference convened to map out the U.K.’s mass vaccination efforts, BBC journalist Alex Forsyth asked Johnson: “Was Donald Trump responsible for inciting the crowds that stormed the Capitol?”
“All my life, America has stood for some very important things: an idea of freedom and an idea of democracy,” Johnson replied. “If you say, as you’re suggesting, so far as he encouraged people to storm the Capitol, and insofar as the president consistently has cast doubt on the outcome of a free and fair election, I believe that was completely wrong.”
“I unreservedly condemn encouraging people to behave in the disgraceful way that they did in the Capitol,” Johnson added. “And all I can say is I’m very pleased that the President elect is now being, properly, duly confirmed in office.”
Mass vaccination is being rolled out across the U.K. with logistics support from the British army. Nearly 1.5 million vaccines have been administered so far. Johnson said that some 1,000 vaccination centers will be open across the country by the end of this week. However, Johnson warned that in the early phases, “There’s going to be lumpiness and bumpiness in the distribution.”
Earlier this week, Johnson had revealed an ambitious objective of administering the vaccine to those most in need of it — around 13 million people — by mid-February. As for when life might return to normal, Johnson said, “There will be the chance to look at some relaxations of restrictions,” by Feb. 15.
Meanwhile, the U.K. recorded 52,618 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, down nearly 10,000 from Wednesday’s 62,322. However, the daily death toll was 1,162, the second highest since the pandemic began. More than 2.8 million people have been infected and deaths are in excess of 78,000.