[/news/boris_johnson/index.html Boris Johnson] tonight begged the public to behave when pubs open, saying he 'will not hesitate' to impose local lockdowns on outbreaks, as Government scientists warned the country this was not a 'risk-free next step'.
At a Downing Street press conference to mark restrictions easing in England from tomorrow, the PM struck a nervous tone as he insisted the 'risks are obvious' and the country is 'not out of the woods yet'.
He insisted that while the government is taking the 'biggest step yet' towards normality and hopes to spell out a timetable for opening up more sectors next week, danger was still lurking just below the surface.
Mr Johnson said he would be treating himself to a pint - but only one.
Meanwhile, chief medical officer Chris Whitty delivered a stark message that the virus was a 'long way from gone' and a second wave is a 'real possibility', while science head Patrick Vallance pointed out transmission is much more likely indoors.
'None of us believe, and I'm sure nobody watching this believes, this is a risk-free next step.
It is absolutely not, that is why we have to be really serious about it,' said Prof Whitty.
'There's no doubt these are environments whose principal job it is to bring people together, that's a great thing to do socially but it's also a great thing from the virus's point of view.'
The cautionary note came as police brace for chaos as bars get up and running for the first time since March tomorrow.
Legally they will be allowed to open as early as 6am - although No10 stressed that standard licensing rules will still apply.
Meanwhile, new figures have suggested that the R rate might have crept upwards in some parts of the country, although the overall estimate remains between 0.7 and 0.9.
A survey of 15,000 pubs has found that 42 per cent will open tomorrow, a further 17 per cent are reopening later in July and the rest either don't know or are waiting to the end of the summer at the earliest.
But critics have predicted 'Stupid Saturday' amid concerns people will let loose with heavy drinking and rowdy behaviour - while there could also be mayhem on the roads with 10million drivers set to take advantage of the wider rules easing.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, also warned of the danger of Covid-19 'superspreading' events occurring in pubs.
But Mr Johnson said the key was for everyone to 'enjoy summer safely'. 'Lockdown only succeeded in controlling the virus because everyone worked together, and we will only succeed in reopening if everyone works together again,' he said.
'Because we are not out of the woods yet.
The virus is still with us and the spike in Leicester has shown that. If it starts running out of control again this Government will not hesitate in putting on the brakes and re-imposing restrictions.
'Anyone who flouts social distancing and COVID-Secure rules is not only putting us all at risk but letting down those businesses and workers who have done so much to prepare for this new normal.
'So as we take this next step, our biggest step yet, on the road to recovery, I urge the British people to do so safely.'
Professor Whitty backed the Prime Minister, saying a 'really clear and really disciplined approach' would be needed in the second phase of reducing the lockdown, adding the need for a balancing act of maintain social distancing whilst also enjoying pubs.
He warned that 'there is no perfect, exact way' of easing lockdown, adding: 'We are going to have health problems, and economic problems, for sure.'
In other developments today as England prepares to take another critical step in the crisis:
The R rate - the average number of people each Covid-19 patient infects — is still between 0.7 and 0.9 as a whole for the UK.
But SAGE believes it could be as high as 1.1 in London, and 1 in the Midlands, the North East and Yorkshire, the South East and the South West;The UK has recorded 137 more Covid-19 deaths, meaning the official toll of lab-confirmed victims has now topped 44,000.
Official data also shows Britain's daily number of fatalities have not fallen as quickly in July as they did last month;Hair salons are preparing to open at midnight and work until morning to meet the frenzied demand from Britons aching for a post-lockdown trim;Churches can also reopen for services including weddings of no more than 30 people - but 75,000 couples have already postponed walking down the aisle over the past three months;Transport Secretary Grant Shapps paved the way for summer holidays today by releasing a list of more than 60 quarantine-exempt countries - but fears have been raised that plans for mass screening for covid-19 at airports could cause 'log jams' in the terminals; At a Downing Street press conference to mark lockdown easing in England tomorrow, Boris Johnson struck a nervous tone as he insisted the 'risks are obvious' and the country is 'not out of the woods yet'
Northern Ireland has got a jump on England by opening pubs a day earlier.
Pictured is the Dirty Onion in Belfast today
Screens are being put up on the Atlas Bar and cafe in Manchester as the new era of going out for drinking and food begins tomorrow
Sylvester Kowalczk pictured measuring 2m to put social distancing stickers on the floor at the Ship and Whale pub in Rotherhithe, south London
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Beer is delivered this morning at The Cricketers in Chelmsford, Essex, as England's tens of thousands of pubs and bars can start serving again
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty (right) delivered a stark message that the virus was a 'long way from gone' and a second wave is a 'real possibility', while science head Patrick Vallance (left) pointed out transmission is much more likely indoors
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