In the latest lockdown news, reports suggest the June 21 target for lifting of coronavirus restrictions will be delayed.
According to MailOnline, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to postpone his roadmap target for lockdown as cases rise yet again.
That would mean remaining legal limits on social contact will stay in place for another four weeks until July 19.
What the science says
Speaking on Radio 4, Professor Peter Openshaw of the government’s Nervtag advisory group branded the emergence of the Delta variant as a “disappointing setback”.
The Delta variant is around 60 per cent more transmissible than the Kent strain. It now accounts for nine in 10 coronavirus cases in the UK.
Professor Peter Openshaw said: “It really has gone up another gear. And that means that we really have to double down and not lose all the advantage that has been gained by the massive effort that has been put in so far.”
University of Warwick epidemiologist Michael Tildesley, added scientists need to consider the link between cases and hospital admissions before decisions can be made.
He said on Radio 4: “We don’t want to be slipping into another lockdown.
“To avoid this we have to be cautious and make sure we get enough data from the Government as possible informing what we might expect in a future wave as we start to unlock further.”
What Boris Johnson has said
Downing Street sources have indicated to the BBC that no final decision concerning June 21 has yet been made.
However, that decision is expected to be taken on Sunday ahead of an announcement by PM Boris Johnson on Monday.
He most recently highlighted the likelihood of easing rests with the success of vaccinations.
Everybody can see very clearly that cases are going up.
Mr Johnson said: “I think what everybody can see very clearly is that cases are going up, and in some cases hospitalisations are going up.
“What we need to assess is the extent to which the vaccine rollout, which has been phenomenal, has built up protection in the population in order for us to go ahead to the next stage. And so that’s what we’ll be looking at.”
What else is the government saying?
Foreign Office minister James Cleverly refused to confirm the delay today (June 12). But he did seem to dampen the expectations of those hoping for a full unlocking.
He said: “We always knew there would be a chance of mutations and variants. That’s why this unlocking process was a progressive one and that’s why we have had these decision points laid out.
“That’s why the government, the Prime Minister and our scientific advisers will be assessing the data and making decisions for the announcement on Monday.
“We will make decisions with regard to lockdown based on the most up-to-date information.”
What does this all mean in real life?
Some press speculation suggests Mr Johnson might lift restrictions on the number of guests at weddings.
However, masks, social distancing and working from home will likely remain while the Delta variant poses such a threat.
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