‘No!’ SAGE expert urges Boris Johnson to halt plans for June 21 end of lockdown
Lockdown: Professor says it would be ‘risky’ to unlock on June 21
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A SAGE scientist has warned Boris Johnson not to roll back coronavirus restrictions on June 21 as planned. Professor John Edmunds told ITV’s Robert Peston that reopening the UK would be too “risky” amid the spread of the Indian variant. Mr Johnson’s Government said this week that it was likely to push ahead with plans to remove all restrictions on social distancing and limits on the size of gatherings and events.
The Prime Minister unveiled his plans to end lockdown in England in February.
Each phase of the lockdown rollback has been introduced as scheduled on March 29, April 12, and May 17, but some warn it is too early to relax Covid-19 restrictions as early as June 21, the earliest date set for the final stage of the plan.
Robert Peston put this question to epidemiologist and SAGE committee member Professor John Edmunds on Peston’s ITV news show.
Mr Peston said: “Advise the Prime Minister tonight, should he unlock fully on June 21th?”
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Professor Edmunds replied: “No.”
“I think that would be, at the moment anyway, it looks a little bit risky”
“The Indian variant is taking off in a number of places, not everywhere but a number of places.”
“Luckily we’ve still got low levels but it is concerning.”
The spread of the Indian variant in the UK in the past several weeks has caused alarm for Boris Johnson and his Government.
The new strain is thought to be 30 percent more contagious than other coronavirus variants.
However, there is no evidence to suggest that the variant is more resistant to coronavirus vaccines.
The spread of the variant in some regions of England led the Government to introduce increased coronavirus measures this week in eight English council areas including Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, and North Tyneside.
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Boris Johnson warned at a press conference earlier this month that if the Indian variant continues to pose a serious threat then “we’re going to face some hard choices.”
There have now been over 5,000 recorded cases of the Indian variant in England, with 383 in Scotland, 62 in Wales and 15 in Northern Ireland.
However, with over 70 percent of UK adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, hospitalisations and deaths caused by the variant are hoped to be significantly reduced.
Boris Johnson said last week that he would provide a further update on plans for the June 21 unlocking before the end of May.
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