UK Reopening Delayed By Weeks Due To Delta Variant: Boris Johnson
Johnson had been gradually ebbing curbs since March.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, 14 June, delayed the lifting of all COVID-19 curbs by four weeks, as the country witnesses a surge in the number of coronavirus cases caused by the Delta variant.
The UK economy was earlier set to fully reopen on Monday, 21 June, with nightclubs and pubs also reopening and social distancing measures being lifted in the country.
Johnson had been gradually easing restrictions since March, however, the PM has asserted that it’s time to “ease off the accelerator” and prioritise inoculations in the country, AFP reported.
Addressing a press briefing, he said, "On the evidence I can see right now, I'm confident that we will not need more than four weeks and won't need to go beyond 19 July.”
In England, most current statement of procedures – such as limits on people meeting in restaurants and pubs – will continue to be in place until 16 July, as restrictions on the number of guests allowed at weddings will be lifted, AFP reported.
Euro 2020 and large pilot events will continue.
The UK health policy is delegated to all four nations that comprise the island, with England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland handling their respective policies.
Due to reopen on 28 June, Scotland is also likely to announce an extension of its COVID curbs.
The Delta variant, found to be more transmissible that other variants was first reported in India, and now 96 percent of cases in the UK are due to this variant.
Last week, positive COVID tests jumped to 50 percent and the number of recorded cases at present is highest since February, with around 8,000 infections reported every day.
The Delta variant is believed to be around 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant first identified in Kent, southeast England. That variant had forced the country to go into another three-month lockdown in January.
Meanwhile, over 55 percent of adults in the UK have had both vaccine doses. The UK. government is looking to fully inoculate 75 percent of its adults by 19 July.
A recent study indicated that two shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine stopped the need for hospital treatment in 96 percent of infections of the new variant, AFP reported. The complete dosage of the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot showed the rate to be 92 percent.
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