Warning: June lockdown ‘should be delayed for a few weeks’ due to signs of new Covid wave in UK Bedford News

Scientists have warned more data is needed before restrictions can be lifted (Photo: Getty Images)

The lifting of lockdown measures on June 21 in England is expected to be delayed “by a few weeks” due to signs of a new wave of Covid-19 infections in the UK.

Concerns have been expressed that it is too early to lift all legal social restrictions amid increasing cases of the Indian variant Covid-19, which is spreading rapidly in parts of the country.

The end date must be delayed

Government adviser and microbiologist Prof Ravi Gupta said the lifting of all lockdowns at the end of June must be delayed to allow more data to be collected on the Indian variant.

The Cambridge University scholar said there had been an ‘exponential growth’ in the number of cases, fueled by the highly transmissible Indian variant, but the ‘explosive’ impact it could have was currently being masked. by the high vaccination rate.

Currently, more than 39 million people in England have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while an additional 2.3 million have received both doses.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, he said: “It will probably take longer than previous waves to emerge due to the fact that we have fairly high levels of vaccination in the population, so it may take longer than previous waves to emerge. there may be a false sense of security for some. time, and that’s our concern.

“I think the problem is we’re not too far off reaching the kind of vaccination levels that would help us contain the virus and I think people aren’t saying we should drop the June 21 date altogether,” but simply delay it for a few minutes. weeks as we gather more intelligence and can look at the trajectory in a clearer way.

“If you look at the costs and benefits of being wrong, I think it’s strongly in favor of the delay, so I think that’s the key point.

“Yes, we will learn to live with it but this date which has been fixed did not take into account the fact that we would have a new variant on the horizon, with properties that allow it to escape to some extent the antibody and a virus that is more transmissible. “

The UK government is now aiming to offer everyone over 50 the second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine before the restrictions are scheduled to end on June 21.

More data is needed

Professor Adam Finn, of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), said that while the UK vaccination program “will ultimately give us … protection” against the Indian variant, caution is needed. bet before the next reopening phase.

Professor Finn warned that a clearer picture of the pandemic was needed before action was taken to ease restrictions further.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘I think it’s unfortunate that everyone has that date in mind because what we really need to do is figure out how things are going and adapt to it. result.

“What we’ve done wrong in the past is to leave it too late and delay making decisions, ultimately postpone them and end up with big waves of infection.

“This time around we should be careful, wait and see what happens, then let everyone free, if you like, once we know for sure it’s safe and we can do it without. have another set of locks, etc. “

While encouraging data has emerged in recent weeks on Covid hospital admissions in Britain, Professor Finn said any impact on admissions resulting from the relaxation of restrictions in May would not be known until after many days, until “around June 21 or just before that”. .

Some measures could remain

While the June 21 date still seems uncertain for the next step in easing the lockout, it is expected that even if it goes as planned, some measures may remain in place.

This will likely mean that face masks will continue to be needed, while those who can will still be asked to work from home.

The government will wait for the latest data on June 14 before deciding whether or not to lift the restrictions the following week.

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This notice was published: 2021-05-31 12:43:50

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