Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the QuantuMDx Biotechnology company in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on February 13. Ian Forsyth/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he agreed with comments by Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Friday that vaccinations and new treatments could make Covid-19 “another illness we have to live with, like we do flu” by the end of the year.

“I do think that in due time [Covid-19] will become something that we simply live with. Some people will be more vulnerable than others — that’s inevitable,” Johnson said Saturday, replying to a reporter’s question.

Johnson also said he was feeling “optimistic” ahead of a planned announcement on February 22 of his road map for England to exit lockdown — but added that “we have to be cautious.”

Asked about the scheduled February 22 announcement, when details of how the lockdown will be eased are expected to be outlined, Johnson replied that he will “be trying to set out as much as I possibly can in as much detail as I can, always understanding that we have to be wary of the pattern of disease.” 

The UK government is hoping to meet its target of offering Covid-19 vaccinations to 15 million people in the most vulnerable groups by Monday, February 15. To date 14 million people in the UK have had their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Here’s some context: There have been more than 4 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

In March last year, the UK government said it was hopeful the country could cap its coronavirus deaths at 20,000. But more than 116,500 have died, according to figures from JHU — and the country has one of the highest number of confirmed deaths in the world, proportionate to population.