At a news conference at Downing Street, Boris Johnson said it was sensible to wait “just a little longer” as he extends lockdown restrictions by four weeks, owing to the Delta Variant of Covid-19.
The Delta variant, which was initially detected in India and has spread across the UK, is contributing to 96% of new cases. This variant has been outpacing other versions for the virus in parts of the US and Canada, inciting alarm in other countries with Germany also issuing a travel ban on Britain.
Even though the decision to delay what has been dubbed as ‘freedom day’ in the British press is a contentious decision in Johnson’s Conservative Party, the consensus of the scientific community could not be ignored with a Scottish study finding that Delta variant was twice as likely to cause hospitalisations.
The delay is part of a strategy to allow millions of more vaccines to be administered, increasing the number of second doses administered in order to protect against the emergent Delta variant.
Current research findings reassure that full courses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines offer strong protection against the hospitalisation of the Delta variant.
In the meantime, England’s current restrictions will remain in place. This means that clubs and similar venues will remain closed, with indoor gatherings limited to six people. The situation will be reviewed on June 28 to allow reopening to be bought forward, but this was considered unlikely.
Elsewhere in the UK, Scotland is set to announce their decision tonight and Northern Ireland is scheduled to review the decision of easing restrictions for 21 June on Thursday, 17 June.
Picture: United Kingdom Government