UK lockdown: Expert calls for delay to end of restrictions
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Next week the Prime Minister will announce the Government’s decision on lifting all restrictions on June 21 but it is feared he may delay the date amid fears over the transmission of the Delta variant. Although the Government has ramped up its vaccine rollout, which now includes those over 25, ministers are believed to have been given a downbeat assessment of the data. Cabinet met this week to discuss measures but, according to inside reports, Sir Patrick Vallance and professor Chris Whitty put forward a plan to delay the lockdown by two weeks due to the variant.
Amid the fears over the new wave of infections, Express.co.uk is asking in today’s exclusive online poll: “Should Boris delay June 21 ‘Freedom Day’ due to panic over new wave?”
According to The Times, the Government’s chief advisers warned the transmission rate of the variant is much quicker than first expected.
They also concluded, vaccinations do not provide 100 percent protection as millions remain unvaccinated across the country.
It is thought the Government may be forced to retain some restrictions moving past June 21 in order to try and curb the spread of infection.
By delaying the June 21 date, it is hoped all over-50s could be fully vaccinated while giving time for the jabs to take full effect.
One cabinet source added: “They emphasised again that the vaccine did not provide 100 per cent protection and there were real concerns about the transmissibility of the new variants.
“I think you’re looking at a delay of between two weeks and a month.
“As long as we have fully opened things up by the school holidays then I don’t think the political damage will be too great.”
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Another cabinet source claimed the Government had only intended the June 21 date to be an optimistic scenario.
They added: “We always said it was June 21 at the earliest.
“We may need another few weeks to let the effects of vaccination take hold.
“Doing a partial reopening would create confusion.
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“People have planned on the basis of a full reopening.
“It’s important that the messaging is consistent.”
To combat the spread of the virus, the UK has deployed surge vaccination teams across the country where it has been detected.
In a sign the vaccine strategy is working, the Office for National Statistics has revealed the number of deaths in the week ending May 2 was 9,628.
That number was 232 fewer than the previous week and 312 fewer than five-year average for week 21.
Of the 9,628 deaths registered, 95 mentioned coronavirus which is a decrease of 12 on the previous week.
According to the Government’s own data, 259,941 people received a second shot of the vaccine on June 7.
A further 127,345 received the first shot while 154 people were admitted to hospital taking the total number of a week to 69 – a 0.3 percent drop on the previous seven days.
One death was reported while 5,683 cases were recorded across the country taking the seven day total to 35,796.
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