Wednesday, 16 Jun 2021

Tory MP says June 21 is ‘unclear’ as next two weeks ‘critical’ – ‘Must be irreversible’

Boris Johnson: Data for lifting lockdown is 'ambiguous'

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Conservative MP for Newbury Laura Farris cast doubt on the upcoming lifting of all lockdown rules on June 21. She told BBC Newsnight the risks of scrapping restrictions were still being assessed in the “biggest test” the nation’s resilience has faced.

She said: “I think there’s a very difficult political judgement that has to be reached, and this is the biggest test of our national resilience since the pandemic began.”

Ms Farris also pointed out Professor Chris Whitty’s advice that five weeks are needed in between each lockdown easing stage – for Sage to be able to “assess impact” of the lockdown easing.

She added: “We’re right in the here, the mid-point between May 17 and June 21, and I think it is unclear what lies ahead.

“But I think the next ten to 14 days will be critical to determinate whether or not June 21 goes ahead as planned.”

Her remarks follow Boris Johnson’s warning about pressing ahead with plans to ease Covid restrictions.

Independent Sage, a group of scientists who are working together to provide scientific advice to the UK government and public, said going ahead with plans could fuel a rise in infections.

On Friday, the group issued an emergency statement, saying: “We are currently witnessing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in England.

“Public Health England figures released on June 3 suggest that the Delta variant has spread widely across the UK and is continuing to spread, that it has higher infectivity than the previous circulating variant, and that it is more likely to cause disease and hospitalisation.

“There is increasing evidence that vaccine efficacy is compromised against this variant, and that individuals remain at particular risk until they receive two doses.

“There is some evidence that protection from two doses wanes after a number of months, particularly in the elderly.”

The group also pointed out their advice was an attempt to avoid a new lockdown.

A spokesman for the body added: “It is clear that the link between infection and hospitalisation has not yet been fully broken.

“We wish to avoid another full lockdown, which will damage education and people’s wellbeing as well as the economy. This requires reversing the growth in cases.”

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