Thursday, 17 Jun 2021

Boris Johnson told two-week reopening delay needed to make full rule lifting permanent

UK lockdown: Expert calls for delay to end of restrictions

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England should delay plans to end all COVID-19 restrictions on June 21, an expert in microbiology has said. Professor Ravindra Gupta of the University of Cambridge told the BBC that he supported a two-week delay to the end of lockdown measures. Under Boris Johnson’s roadmap, England is due to end all limits on social distancing on June 21. 

Professor Gupta argued that while some restrictions could be lifted, others may have to remain in place for longer.

Each country in the UK will use different plans and restrictions to ease out of lockdown in the coming weeks and months, and England is set to end restrictions the earliest on June 21.

However, Professor Gupta stated that with the planned reopening just a few weeks away, more time was needed.

He said an extension would “give us enough time to find out more.”

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Prof Gupta added: “To put in place the relevant measures and to maybe modify the way that the full exit from lockdown happens.

“Maybe they’ll be continued mask-wearing in workplaces, maybe there’ll be more remote working. 

“Reaching a hybrid situation.

“I think to go completely back to normal may not be in everyone’s best interests.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC’s Andrew Marr ton Sunday that he was “absolutely open” to the idea of a delay to the end of restrictions.

However, he added on another occasion that I was “too early” to tell if such a delay would be necessary.

He also said that the Delta variant, which has spread throughout the UK, was 40 percent more transmissible than other forms of coronavirus.

Over 75 percent of new COVID-19 infections in the UK are of the Delta variant, leading some to speculate that it could delay the June 21 date.

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The Government roadmap laid out by Boris Johnson earlier this year states that in order to enter a new phase of easing restrictions, four tests must be met.

These are a successful vaccine rollout, evidence for the vaccine reducing hospitalisations and deaths, the NHS not being in danger of being overwhelmed, and no threat from dangerous variants.

More than 75 percent of UK adults have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while more than half have received both doses.

Despite this success, there is concern that the increased potency of the Delta variant could pose the risk of a fresh outbreak.
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