Boris Johnson 'facing pressure' over June 21st says expert
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Boris Johnson will delay the decision on whether all restrictions should be lifted on June 21, a BBC journalist has suggested. Political correspondent Nick Eardley told BBC News that the Prime Minister will face intense scrutiny both for and against the decision in the coming weeks, and that he would not make a final decision until closer to the time. Under the Government’s roadmap, step four would end all restrictions on social distancing by June 21
Mr Eardley reported that Boris Johnson was certain to be under a great deal of pressure.
He said: “I think we’re going to see a lot of that pressure over the next couple of weeks.
“It’s coming from the scientists saying ‘take a bit longer, just give yourself a bit more leeway, get people their second vaccine dose.’
“Versus some in the business community who are knocking on Boris Johnson’s door and saying ‘we are absolutely desperate to get back to something approaching normality given the catastrophic 16 months we’ve had so far.’
“The question Boris Johnson is going to face is whether it’s worth putting a bit of pressure on the brakes to give himself a bit more space.”
He added that the Scottish Government was making a similar decision before Boris Johnson, and that it was unlikely to fully roll back restrictions.
“I think we might see some taking of that decision in Scotland,” he said.
“This was the day when Scotland as a whole could potentially under the roadmap there have moved to level one. I don’t think that’s going to happen across the country
“Yes, large parts of Scotland will move down to level one but significant parts will also stay in level two.
“Boris Johnson is going to face a lot of pressure from doctors, from medical experts, from businesses on the other side and from many Tory MPs who are desperate to move on with that roadmap.
“I don’t think he’s going to want to make that decision before he has to. That means we’ve got a couple of weeks left until we get a better idea of whether that final easing goes ahead in England.”
England entered phase three of the government roadmap on May 17 with the return of indoor mixing.
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Under the roadmap, which has a minimum of five weeks between each step, all restrictions could be lifted on June 21.
However, the government has a set of tests for each phase to ensure a rolling back of restrictions does not risk another major outbreak of Covid-19.
The tests allow phases of the roadmap to be implemented if the vaccine programme is being successfully rolled out, hospitalisations and deaths are reduced by the vaccine, the NHS is not in danger of being overwhelmed, and there is no danger posed by new variants.
The spread of the Indian variant in recent weeks has caused some to argue that the June 21 reopening should be delayed. The variant now accounts for three-quarters of all new Covid cases in the UK, which have risen recently.
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