Cabinet ministers are said to be increasingly pessimistic that the June 21 date for ending lockdown restrictions in England can still go ahead as planned, after receiving a downbeat briefing yesterday from the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance. A cabinet source told The Times that any delay could be “between two weeks and a month.” The postponement would allow all over-50s to be fully vaccinated and leave sufficient time for the jabs to kick-in and take effect before restrictions are lifted.
Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick were reported to have told Cabinet ministers that they had “real concerns” about the transmissibility of the new Covid variants, and emphasised that vaccines did not provide 100 percent protection.
A spokesperson for Number 10 told The Times that there was “nothing in the data” to suggest that the final stage of the lockdown easing could not go ahead on June 21.
However, they insisted that the Government would continue to look closely at infection rates and hospitalisations.
All remaining lockdown restrictions are scheduled to end on “Freedom Day”, June 21.
This means that pubs and restaurants will no longer be required to observe the one metre-plus rule and all restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather indoors will also come to an end.
Nightclubs will be able to resume business and there will no longer be a 30-person limit on events, including weddings.
Rules governing face masks and guidance on working from home will cease to apply.
Professor Neil Ferguson, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M), estimated it at 60 percent, although he added the possible range spanned 30-100 percent.
In May, Spi-M scientists from the University of Warwick calculated that the Delta variant could lead to up to 6,000 new hospitalisations each day, if the strain was 40 percent more transmissible than Alpha.
That figure rises to 10,000 admissions a day if the variant is 50 percent more transmissible.
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed