Boris Johnson ‘considering delaying June 21 lockdown easing by a month’
Ministers believe the delay would give businesses “certainty” and allow more time for people to receive both vaccinations, The Times reports.
Restrictions are set to be lifted in England on June 21, however there has been a rise in infections and hospital admissions from the Delta variant.
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed yesterday that the variant, which was first identified in India, now accounts for 91% of new coronavirus cases in the UK.
The Prime Minister is set to make an announcement on June 14 on whether restrictions will be lifted as planned.
‘Patience now will pay off in the long run’
News of the potential delay comes as the government has been urged to postpone restrictions being lifted on June 21.
Jim McManus, vice-president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, said that data and not dates should be behind the final decision.
He said: “Patience now will pay off in the long run.”
Mr McManus said: “Covid is not going to disappear on the 21st of June and lifting all measures as early as the 21st risks reversing the significant progress we have made.
“The complete lifting of measures on the 21st of June not only risks an increase in cases and hospitalisation, but risks the introduction of new variants to the UK which will undermine our vaccination programme and derail our path back to normality.
“The alternatives of locking down or releasing all measures is a false one.
“Instead, we would like to see the extension of the current measures – brought into effect on 17th May – and a delay to the full reopening.”
Case rates more than doubled among 20-29-year-olds
The latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England (PHE), published on Thursday, showed case rates had risen in nearly all age groups in England.
The case rates more than doubled among 20 to 29-year-olds, going from 54.0 per 100,000 people in the week ending May 30 to 121.0 in the seven days to June 6.