Calls grow for lock down exit delay, as rising cases across UK point to ‘serious third wave’
“(There are) 5,300 new cases of the disease per day in the United Kingdom and we’re up about 2,000 on last week,” he said.
“Now we’ve been discussing whether or not we’re going into a serious third wave and I don’t think we can possibly wait any longer. This is the evidence of another wave appearing.”
Coronavirus: Is a third wave underway in the UK?
The new strain of Covid-19 caused cases to uptick in the northwest of England, parts of the Midlands and in London during May and into the first week of June, prompting fears that the prime minister pressing ahead with his roadmap to bring an end to precautionary measures could have disastrous consequences.
Government ‘open’ to delaying 21 June England lockdown end date
The government is “absolutely open” to delaying the final lifting of England’s Covid lockdown on 21 June if necessary, the health secretary has said.
Matt Hancock insisted 21 June was a “not before” date to end restrictions and No 10 “would look at the data”.
He said the Delta variant first seen in India was about 40% more transmissible than the Alpha (Kent) strain.
But he added that hospitalisations were “broadly flat” which meant Covid vaccines were working.
UK readies contingency plans to delay June 21 easing
Surge testing in Reading and Wokingham as Delta variant case numbers rise across UK..
Civil servants are drawing up contingency plans to delay the June 21 easing of England’s lock down restrictions, as the UK reported another large rise in corona virus cases on Friday and surge testing for the Delta variant was launched in parts of Berkshire.
Pressure from scientists on prime minister Boris Johnson to leave some Covid-19 measures in place for England intensified with further evidence that the more contagious Delta variant originally detected in India was displacing the previously dominant Alpha (Kent) variant and pushing up infections fast.
Two-week delay to June 21 lock down easing being considered
Social distancing and the wearing of face coverings are also set to continue with the lifting of restrictions set to be scaled back..
A two-week delay to the final stage of Boris Johnson’s road map on June 21 is reportedly being considered after the the number of people in the country with Covid-19 surged by 75 per cent.
The ‘Freedom Day’ date was pencilled in as the official end of lock down but rising cases fuelled by the Indian variant – now known as the Delta variant – have complicated the picture.
Multiple reports have also suggested plans to lift restrictions could be scaled down, with social distancing and the wearing of face coverings set to continue amid concerns the Indian variant is fuelling a surge in cases.
The UK on Friday recorded its highest number of new confirmed corona virus cases – 6,238 – since late March, according to official figures.
Other options’ for 21 June being drawn up as government weighs ending lock down as planned
Options said to be under discussion include retaining the use of masks, working from home policy, or a slight delay to unlocking.
Options under discussion are said to include:
• Retaining the wearing of face masks in certain settings
• Continuing the work from home advice, even as the hospitality sector opens up
• A slight delay to the unlocking, pushing step 4 into July
Wales chief says lock down restrictions WON’T be eased
WELSH leader Mark Drakeford has dashed hopes of a so-called freedom day on June 21, as he confirmed that Wales will not lift all Covid restrictions after he held a meeting with Boris Johnson on Thursday.
The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford confirms that Wales will not lift all COVID restrictions on June 21st, even if England does. Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Mr Drakeford voiced concern over the spread of new variants and suggested that some restrictions will stay in place until everyone has had their first vaccination dose.
Stage four of Boris Johnson’s roadmap for easing lockdown rules – when the Prime Minister aims to remove all limits on social contact – is scheduled to take place from 21 June.
UK passes 40m vaccine first doses but expert warns full lock down easing is ‘foolish’
It came as reports suggested ministers are considering delaying the full reopening date – or “Freedom Day” – by a fortnight to 5 July.
However further good news arrived on the vaccine front as the UK hit another milestone, with 40 million first doses administered in just six months.
And Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said data from Bolton suggested that vaccines had “broken the chain” between coronavirus infection and serious illness.
Delta variant hospitalisations are increasing but not “very significantly” and, in Bolton at least, typically involve individuals who are “a lot younger and a lot less at-risk of very serious complication” or death – reducing the demand for critical care, he said.
On Friday daily coronavirus cases surpassed 6,000 for the first time since March and health secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday it was “too early to say” whether current plans could go ahead.
Saturday’s daily figure for new cases was down slightly, at 5,765, but that is still higher than Thursday’s tally.
What will change on 21 June if lock down is eased ?
The Government hopes to remove “all legal limits on social contact” from 21 June. This means there will no longer be restrictions on how many people you can meet, either indoors or outdoors.
However, some social distancing rules may remain in place, and the wearing of masks may still be mandatory in some public places.
Nightclubs and music venues will reopen and larger events will be allowed to resume without limited crowds.
“This will be subject to the results of a scientific events research programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer, where we will trial the use of testing and other techniques to cut the risk of infection,” the Government said.
Will the 21 June lock down easing actually happen?
Before each stage of the road map the Government must ensure four tests are passed:
The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern