A two-week delay in the planned June 21 easing of restrictions in England is reportedly being considered after the number of people living with Covid-19 rose 75% in the country.
Several reports have also suggested that plans to lift restrictions could be scaled back, with social distancing and wearing face coverings continuing, amid concerns that the Indian variant is fueling a surge in cases.
According to official figures, the UK recorded 6,238 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest number since the end of March.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures also suggest that the number of people who had the virus in England rose by about three-quarters in a week, reaching its highest level since mid-April, with an R- Value between 1 and 1.2.
According to the Telegraph, a two-week delay to the final stages of Boris Johnson’s roadmap is being used to speed up the second thrusts for those over 40, switching from a 12- to an eight-week gap between doses, reflecting the practice already in place for Space over 50.
The over 25-year-olds will also be offered the first cans from next week, the newspaper said.
It comes when laboratory data from the Francis Crick Institute underpins a policy of reducing the gap between stitches.
The study found that after just one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, people are less likely to develop antibodies to the Indian (B.1.617.2) variant, also known as Delta, which is as high as that against the previously dominant Kent variant. which was referred to as Alpha.
Dr. Rosalind Eggo, member of the government advisory board of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modeling (Spi-M), said with “very early evidence” that the vaccines currently on offer “do not work quite as well against the Delta variant”. , it was important to increase the rate of the second jabs.
“It’s really important to increase those second doses and increase that number as much as possible,” she told BBC Newsnight.
If plans to lift all restrictions to fully vaccinate more adults are postponed for a fortnight, so-called “Freedom Day” could be postponed until July 5th.
In a move already criticized by nightly business leaders, the i said the government would likely step down to encourage return to work, continue with guidance, and likely to work from home if possible the policy of wearing masks and social distancing on public transport.
The newspaper also said social distancing is likely to remain in bars and restaurants, along with audience restrictions in theaters and cinemas.
Dr. Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modeling (Spi-M) government advisory board, said the government had a “tough call” to ease restrictions on Jan.
He told Times Radio, “The difficult position the government is in is of course that if you delay you will of course get a minor wave of aftermath.
“I mean, that’s the case with any control policy – if you leave it in for a longer period of time, the cases will be reduced.
“But of course if you delay that, we know it will have a negative impact on businesses, people’s livelihoods, and so on.”
Meanwhile, surge tests are slated to roll out in some areas of Berkshire starting Monday to combat the spread of the Delta variant.
PCR testing is offered to anyone over the age of 12 in certain Reading and Wokingham zip code areas as there is a “real concern” that continued circulation poses the risk of further mutations.
Meradin Peachey, Berkshire West’s director of public health, said the cases mostly affect young people, with “virtually no one over 60 or anyone vaccinated”.
She told BBC Breakfast, “If the variant spreads and gets more, it may mutate again and the big worry is that vaccines won’t work and that’s my big worry. We really want people to be tested and isolated if they have the virus, stop the spread so we can make sure the vaccination program is working. “
In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed that he is considering keeping social distancing restrictions on for the remainder of 2021, calling the two-meter measure “one of the strongest defenses we have” against the virus.
However, UKHospitality executive director Kate Nicholls said maintaining social distancing would put the sector’s viability at risk.
“Sorry, but leaving the social distancing in pubs, restaurants, hotels, and attractions means June 21 is not a freedom date at all,” she tweeted.
“It means these companies continue to operate at a loss, putting long-term business, job and recovery at risk.”
Sacha Lord, night economics advisor for Greater Manchester, said he was “ready for a fight” over the possible shift.
“The hospitality industry is the fifth largest industry in the UK – June 21st is crucial for many,” he said on social media.
No 10 sources said proposals to delay the roadmap were “speculation”, with the Prime Minister telling broadcasters this week that “there is nothing in the data at the moment, which means we cannot go to step 4”.
The Health Secretary said the government “always expected cases to increase” when the lockdown was eased and that ministers were “tough” on international travel rules to keep the route out of the lock in the UK by preventing it that new variants will prevail.
Matt Hancock said vaccines failed to completely sever the link between infections and people who ended up in hospital, but it is not yet possible to determine if the Indian variant increases the risk of ending up in a hospital ward.
“This is one of the things that we are monitoring very closely and it is too early to say what the decision will be before June 21, but we will make sure people know in good time,” said Hancock told reporters on Friday.
An analysis by the PA news agency shows that the majority of the large hospital trusts in England, despite rising case numbers, are currently still taking an average of no Covid-19 admissions, with 50% of the population now fully vaccinated.