The health secretary has said there is no reason to delay reopening beyond 19 July in the first statement to Parliament in his new role.
Speaking to the Commons, Sajid Javid said that more than half of under-30s took up the offer of a vaccine over the weekend.
He also said that the vaccine has prevented an estimated 27,000 lives, and prevented 7,000,000 getting Covid.
Mr Javid said: ‘While we decided not to bring forward step four, we see no reason to go beyond 19 July. In truth, no date we choose comes with zero risk for Covid. We know we simply cannot eliminate it – we have to learn to live with it.
‘We also know that people and businesses need certainty, so we want every step to be irreversible. The restrictions on our freedoms must come to an end. We owe it to the British people who sacrificed so much to restore their freedoms as quickly as we can, and not to wait a moment longer than we need to.
‘So, with the numbers heading in the right direction, all while we protect more and more people each day, July 19 remains our target date.’
He said that the aim is for ‘two-thirds of all adults will have had both doses by 19 July’, reiterating that the Government is bringing forward second doses and its target for first doses in order to meet the 19 July goal.
Mr Javid added: ‘Vaccine uptake remains sky high. We have seen that age is no barrier for enthusiasm for getting the jab. As of this weekend, more than half of adults under 30 have taken up the chance to be vaccinated.’
There was mixed news around the effectiveness against the new Delta variant. He said: ‘We do know that after a single dose of vaccine, the effectiveness is lower against the new Delta variant at around 33% reduction in symptomatic disease.’
However, he added: ‘Two doses of the vaccine are just as effective against hospital admission with the Delta variant compared to the Alpha variant.
‘The latest modelling from PHE shows that they have saved over 27,000 lives and have prevented over 7 million people from getting Covid-19.‘
Mr Javid said on Sunday that his first priority was getting the country back to ‘normal as soon and as quickly as possible’.
He was appointed health secretary on Saturday evening after Matt Hancock resigned following pictures emerging of him kissing an aide that he appointed.
Last year Mr Javid said that he felt the country should be looking to move out of lockdown earlier to support the economy.
In an interview with Sky – highlighted by its political correspondent Rob Powell– Mr Javid said in May 2020: ‘We’re going to have to co-exist with this virus for I think many months, if not potentially years. But we’ve got to find a way forward and that does mean you’re relaxing, as much as you can.
‘As well as listening to the scientists we also need to think carefully about the impact on the rest of society and the economy and jobs and wider social impacts and that does mean, I think, that when it comes to opening up you want to go as far and as quick as you can.’