The Prime Minister will address the country at 6pm and is poised to confirm rules on social distancing will not end as planned on June 21 and will continue until at least July 19. Mr Johnson will explain the next steps at a press conference in Downing Street and will be joined by England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, and the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.
The Prime Minister and his advisers analysed the latest data on Sunday evening and Boris Johnson reportedly agreed to wait to re-open society.
The roadmap out of lockdown, set out by the Prime Minister in February, has been derailed by the spread of the Delta or Indian variant of coronavirus, which is now estimated to make up 96 percent of all cases in the UK.
Scientists have also warned the Delta strain is up to 60 percent more transmissible than the previously dominant Kent variant and a “substantial” third wave could be forthcoming if so-called “Freedom Day” went ahead.
A four-week delay is set to provide enough time for around 10 million more vaccinations to be administered.
But, the move will come as another bitter blow to businesses that had planned to get back to trading as usual next week.
The Government has always said the decision to lift restrictions will be based on four tests.
They include whether the vaccine rollout is continuing successfully and if evidence shows the jabs are reducing hospital cases and deaths among people who have been vaccinated.
Thirdly, the data must show infection rates are not risking a surge in hospital cases which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS and finally the Government must assess the risks that has not been fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.
The latest estimates by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests the proportion of people testing positive for coronavirus in England has increased in recent weeks.
Around one in 560 people in private households in England had COVID-19 in the week to June 5 – up from one in 640 in the previous week.
It is the highest level since the week of April 10.
In hospitals in England, the seven-day average for admissions currently stands at 120, the highest since April 21.
“Variants and mutations will appear for the rest of time. We have to learn to live with it.
“If our very effective vaccines cannot deliver us freedom from restrictions, then nothing ever will.”
Conservative backbencher Marcus Fysh said the delay was a “disastrous and unacceptable policy”.
However, Health minister Edward Argar has suggested the Prime Minister is considering relaxing some of the rules, including scrapping the 30 person limit at weddings.
He said: “I’m not going to pre-empt what the Prime Minister will say later, but I know that weddings and people in that particular situation will be very much in his mind at the moment, it’s one of the things he has been looking at.”
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed