Boris Johnson has quashed fears next month's date for double-vaccinated people to avoid self-isolation could be delayed, insisting August 16 is “nailed on”.

The Prime Minister pledged plans to end the so-called "pingdemic" would go ahead, dismissing claims the date could be pushed back.

But Mr Johnson urged caution over encouraging data which has shown a continuous fall in infection rates over the past week.

The Government has come under sustained criticism over the pingdemic, with concerns over staffing shortages as hundreds of thousands of people ordered to isolate.

Double jabbed people will no longer have to self isolate automatically from August 16 if they come into contact with a positive case.

Mr Johnson told LBC Radio: "August 16 is nailed on - there has never been any question of a review date for August 16.

Soaring numbers of people have been asked to self isolate by the NHS Covid app
Soaring numbers of people have been asked to self isolate by the NHS Covid app

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"I'm very pleased that this is a country that now has the highest proportion of vaccinated adults of any country in the world - that is enabling us to make the economic progress we are."

He suggested that fully vaccinated people would have an advantage over people who refuse to get the jab with holidays and large-scale events.

"I think it’s a very positive thing to do to go and get a vaccine," he said.

"People can obviously see, when you look at things like travel, like mass events, that it’s going to be one of those things that will help you, not hinder you."

Mr Johnson also hailed figures showing falls in infections, with cases down for seven days in a row.

“We have seen some encouraging recent data, there's no question about that,” he said. “But it's far, far too early to draw any general conclusions.

"The most important thing is for people to recognise that the current situation still calls for a lot of caution and for people just to remember that the virus is still out there, a lot of people have got it, it still presents a significant risk."

The PM said the UK could be in store for a "very strong" economic recovery from coronavirus as long as it takes a "cautious approach" towards returning to pre-pandemic behaviours.

It came after the International Monetary Fund said it expects UK economic output to grow by 7% this year – a large increase from the 5.3% growth it predicted in April.

Mr Johnson said: "Jobs are coming back and you'll see this data from the IMF today. It is clear that, if we're sensible and we continue to take a cautious approach, we can see a very, very strong recovery."

He added: "You are seeing the job numbers increasing and I think that the rest of this year – there will still be bumps on the road – but I think you will see a story of steady economic recovery."

Earlier, a senior minister said the crisis in the UK was “all over bar the shouting, but no one has noticed”.

The unnamed minister told the Daily Mail: “Of course we have to guard against the emergence of some terrible new variant.

But otherwise Covid is on the point of becoming something you live with. It drops into the background, but it does not change anything terribly - maybe you have to take a test once in a while.”

Asked whether Britain was at the point of herd immunity, the minister added: “Factually we are. We are there. It's just a fact, as around 90% of adults have had a first dose of a vaccine. We are there.”

But Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey told LBC: “We haven't got complete victory over the virus yet.”