Boris Johnson is due to hold a press conference at No10 on Friday afternoon as Britain faces an increase in cases of the worrying Indian variant Covid-19.
He will be joined by England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty at the 5 p.m. event.
Data from Public Health England shows an increase in cases from 520 to 1,313 this week in the UK.
In London, the number of cases has risen to 400.
However, he did not rule out a postponement of the final phase of easing the lockdown on June 21 or lifting of the homework guidance.
He also called on the public to help suppress the Covid-19 infection rate facing the Indian variant if the planned lifting of restrictions in June is to stay on track.
Mr Zahawi urged residents in England’s 15 regions with the spread of the worrying Indian variant to follow local health advice, get tested and isolated if they test positive.
When asked if the easing of the June 21 roadmap – when all legal limits on social contact should be lifted – could be put on ice, Mr Zahawi told LBC’s Nick Ferrari that the reopening of indoor meetings on Monday “is still relevant”.
When asked if plans for June 21 could be put on hold, he said: “The way we don’t have to do that is to get everyone to do their part, taking both. tests per week, doing your PCR test in these areas, and to isolate, isolate, isolate.
“We have to break the cycle of infection, because one of those big tests was to suppress infection rates, and the other big test is for variants.
“If that’s a problem, the tests will fail. All four tests must be completed by June 21. “
Mr Zahawi said the seven-day moving average figures for the infection show a 12.4% increase, but hospital admissions are down 7.9%.
“This is good news because it tells you that vaccines clearly work in terms of hospitalization and severe infections… but the infection rate is what is of concern, which is why we need to do a surge test. then isolate, ”he said.
The government is looking for ways to “flex” the rollout of vaccines in worst-hit areas like the Northwest, including immunizing everyone in multigenerational households, from 18-year-olds to grandparents, said Mr. Zahawi.
More doses of the vaccine were sent to Bolton, which has a particularly high rate of the Indian variant, while 800,000 PCR tests were sent to 15 separate regions of England, including parts of London and Merseyside.
An option also being considered by government clinical advisers, who are meeting on Friday, is to bring forward the date for second doses of the vaccine for the elderly and vulnerable in areas where the Indian variant is spreading.
Asked about BBC Breakfast what now prevents vaccines from being given to younger age groups in affected areas, Mr Zahawi said it takes three weeks to build up protection from a first dose and have an effect on the transmission of the virus.
The government is expected to make further decisions regarding the vaccination program after clinical advisers review the evidence and make recommendations.
Bedford Borough Council is among those calling for vaccines to be available for those over 16 facing the variant.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham also told BBC Breakfast: ‘We are telling the government that it must go further now and allow the use of these additional vaccines to immunize the younger working age population, the student population.
“This is what we need if we are to make the most decisive and effective intervention possible in this situation.
“We recognize the pressure on vaccine supplies across the country, but we are moving forward at a rate where we are treating all areas equally, and I think the time has come to recognize that areas with the highest rate of higher cases must be able to advance more rapidly through the ages. “
He said there are “young people in places like Bolton who have pretty insecure jobs, so if they get sick they’re worried that they won’t get paid if they have to take time off work.” isolate.
He said he did not support local lockdowns which “really didn’t work” last year, adding: “We are in a different situation this year because, even though we are seeing the spread of the variant Indian in Bolton, we don’t see the same number of people going to the hospital because the elderly are obviously more protected now.
“So we don’t need to have the same answer as last year.
We believe that if we act on immunization quickly, we can eliminate any risk of local lockdown. “
There is no current evidence that vaccines do not work against the Indian variant, which is believed to be at least as transmissible as the Kent variant of the virus.
Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, said the lifting of the lockdown scheduled for June 21 could be questioned if the Indian variant causes an increase in cases among the elderly and an increase in the number of people requiring hospital care.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today show: “I think the big question is how many people who get the Indian variant will end up needing hospitalization?
“And at the moment the hospitalization rate doesn’t seem to be going up yet, although if it becomes much more common we will almost certainly see an increase, so I think that’s definitely a concern.
“I think the fourth step is in doubt in June now, but we really have to see what impact it has on serious illnesses before we can really be sure.”
Asked about the June 21 doubts, he said: “Well, because if the epidemic continues to increase, if the Indian variant of the epidemic continues to increase at the same rate as in the past few weeks, we’re going to have a lot of cases in June.
“The problem is, as it seems to be spreading among unvaccinated young people at the moment and not yet much more active among older people, maybe we can resist it and still can take the plunge. four in June.
“But if that increases cases in the elderly and starts to increase hospitalizations, and puts pressure on the NHS again, I think the fourth step would be in doubt.”
Professor Hunter said the Indian variant “clearly outperformed” the Kent variant in a number of parts of the UK.