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Boris Johnson hailed the “courage, discipline and patience of the nation” in an address on the anniversary of ockdown.

At a press conference from Downing Street he said the country is “step by step, jab by jab” on the path to “reclaiming our freedoms”.

He also said that “at the right moment” a permanent memorial to those who died from coronavirus will be built and the “whole period” will be commemorated.

The country has endured a year-long “epic of endurance and privation” since the first coronavirus lockdown, Mr Johnson said amid warnings that another wave of infections is inevitable.

He wasflanked by Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser.

Mr Whitty warned there would be “bumps and twists on the road”, possibly including the emergence of new variants and shortages in vaccine supplies.

However the success of the vaccination rollout meant that when a new surge happens, it will be met with a “wall of vaccinated people” which will significantly reduce the ratio between the number of cases and the resulting death toll.

It came as people across the UK took part in a minute’s silence to remember Covid-19 victims after a terrible 12 months.

MPs and peers in both Houses of Parliament and ministers in the devolved nations marked the anniversary at midday, while NHS and social care workers also joined the pause for reflection.

The Queen reflected on the “grief and loss felt by so many” as she paid tribute to the service of health and care workers in a message to St Bartholomew’s Hospital where the Duke of Edinburgh had heart surgery.



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