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Possibility of lifting all Covid restrictions next month looks ‘good’, says health chief UK News

A health chief said the possibility of all coronavirus restrictions being lifted next month was “good.”

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said that while the outlook looks bright, people must continue to be cautious to avoid another lockdown.

She also warned that the new Indian Covid variant has become the “dominant strain” in parts of the country.

The final step in easing restrictions is due to take place on June 21 at the earliest as part of the government’s roadmap.

Dr Harries told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “It looks good if people continue to heed all the safety signals, so we shouldn’t stop doing what we are doing, especially in the areas where we have this variant of concern, the B1617.2, in the North West and around London.

“It’s really important that people continue to do their hands, face, space and work from home, to have their jabs and to do the tests as well.

“The cases of the B1617.2 variant are on the rise, they have increased very sharply and much of the media reported a 160% increase in cases over the period of the week, but they appear to be leveling off slightly at the moment.

“It’s still very early.”

Dr Harries added: “We all have to be really careful and I think we don’t all want to go back to the kind of lockdown we’ve had, it doesn’t matter if you’re on Sage or in the public, neither of us want to come back. to that kind of restriction. “

From June 21 at the earliest, nightclubs are to reopen and restrictions on major events such as festivals are to be lifted, as are restrictions on the number of people at weddings.

Dr Harries warned that one had to be careful as the new Indian strain is creating a “mixed picture” across the UK.

She added: “If you look at areas like Bolton and Bedford, for example, in the North West in particular, she is starting to become the dominant strain and has taken over from the Kent variant, which has been our predominant for a long time. winter months.

“But that’s not the case across the country, in fact if you’re in the southwest it still isn’t.”

The words of caution were echoed by Interior Minister Priti Patel, who said there would be no “green light all the way” to unblock the restrictions.

Ms Patel said: “We all have to be conscientious. All of us who are on the move now, we walk away, we wear masks, we follow all the rules.

“It’s part of our normal life now and it will continue, and that, of course, will help us with this unlock on June 21.”

Professor Adam Finn, of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, told BBC Breakfast: “I think there is some uncertainty around the situation at the moment. I think, in a way, that ‘There were uncertainties throughout the process.

“It has always been kind of a tentative schedule and it needs to be, or maybe, adjusted based on events as they happen.

“When we get to June, whatever happens on that date, this global pandemic will not be over. It will always continue.

“There will still be cases going on in this country, across Europe and around the world, so life won’t suddenly return to normal in June, because life won’t be really normal until it is. mastered.

“Life is going to be normal, but it is not yet normal.”

Shoppers in Durham city center today as foreclosure restrictions have been relaxed in England.

The comments come after a study by Public Health England (PHE) found that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is 88% effective against the Indian variant after two doses.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock called the result “groundbreaking,” while PHE said he expects to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospitalization and death.

The study, which took place between April 5 and May 16, found that the jab was found to be almost as effective against the symptomatic disease of strain B1617.2 as against the Kent variant, with an efficacy of 93 %.

Meanwhile, the AstraZeneca jab was 60% effective, compared to 66% against the Kent variant over the same period.

Both vaccines were 33% effective against symptomatic disease of the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared to about 50% against the Kent strain.

New data from PHE shows that at least 2,889 cases of the Indian variant were recorded in England from February 1 of this year to May 18.

Of these, 104 cases resulted in a visit to a hospital emergency department, 31 required overnight hospitalization and six resulted in death.

The most common strain in England, according to data, is the Kent variant, with 132,082 cases recorded in the same period.

Some 1,569 people have died with the variant, while 2,011 cases have resulted in overnight hospitalization and 5,238 have required a visit to a hospital emergency department.

A separate analysis by SPE indicates that the vaccination program has so far prevented 13,000 deaths and around 39,100 …

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This notice was published: 2021-05-23 13:39:32