Plans to put back lockdown easing by two weeks after cases surge

A plan to put back lockdown easing on the 21st June is being considered by the Government.

Plans to put back lockdown easing by two weeks after cases surge. It comes after a surge in COVID cases across the country which saw figures rise by 75%. Amid concerns regarding the Indian variant plans to scale down the wearing of masks and social distancing are also being considered.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that cases in England have rocketed over the last week with the R rate now standing between 1 and 1.2. The planned two week extension will be used to speed up the vaccination roll out in the over 40’s it is said. It is also claimed that people over the age of 25 will now be asked to receive their first jab.

A member of the Government advisory panel, Dr Rosalind Eggo, said that there is early evidence that the vaccines do not perform as well as expected against the Indian variant and the rate of the second jabs has to be increased. Taking all this information into account the so called “freedom day” could now be pushed back until 5th July.

The Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls, said “Sorry but leaving social distancing in place in pubs, restaurants, hotels and attractions means that June 21 is not freedom date at all.

It means that those businesses continue to operate at a loss and threatens the long term viability of businesses, jobs and the recovery.” However Downing Street sources said that talk of a delay is purely “speculation”.

Talking this week the Prime Minister said he sees “nothing in the data at the moment that means we cannot go ahead with Step 4”. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the vaccines have not completely stopped people being admitted to hospitals with the Indian variant and added yesterday “That’s one of the things that we’re watching very carefully, and it’s too early to say what the decision will be ahead of June 21, but we’ll make sure people know in good time.”

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