COVID-19: Minister says there is no delay in easing lockdown in England on Monday despite spread of Indian variant

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COVID-19: Minister says there is no delay in easing lockdown in England on Monday despite spread of Indian variant


A minister told Sky News that the third step in easing England’s lockdown will continue on Monday, despite the spike in cases of the Indian variant of the coronavirus in the UK.

The latest figures show that there are 1,313 cases of the variant in the UK, up from 520 recorded the previous week.

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How concerned is the Indian COVID variant?

But Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said that COVID-19[feminine[feminine the roadmap for Monday “remains in place because the vaccines are being delivered”.

“At the moment, we have no evidence that it escapes vaccines or is more serious in its impact on people,” he said.

As of May 17, pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen indoors and people will be allowed to mix inside as two households or under the rule of six.

People will also have the choice to socialize with close family and friends they meet.

On June 21, the fourth stage, the government wants to put an end to “all limits of social contact”.

Asked about this step, Zahawi was more equivocal, saying ministers would monitor the situation with the virus and be “driven by the data”.

Meanwhile, Premier of Wales Mark Drakeford told Sky News the Indian variant has delayed lifting some restrictions in that country.

Wales will move to alert level two on Monday, with the reopening of indoor hospitality and entertainment venues.

However, Mr Drakeford said the variant had “already had an impact on the plans”, forcing them to suspend some easements they were going to introduce on Monday.

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Wales ‘held back’ on easing COVID rules

These included reopening smaller events and relaxing mixing rules beyond extended households.

“There were 17 cases of the Indian variant in Wales yesterday and over 700 in England,” he said.

“We decided to just take a break, wait and see how important the release of the Indian variant is… not wanting to jeopardize the very good position we are in Wales today. “

Boris Johnson said on Thursday the UK was “worried” about the variant and the government “was not ruling anything out” when it came to tackling its spread.

Despite this, the Prime Minister said he “sees nothing to dissuade me from thinking that we can move forward on Monday and even June 21 everywhere” in terms of easing restrictions in England.

The government is now considering offering second doses of vaccine in areas with a high number of cases of the Indian variant.

The Department of Health said “most of the cases are in the North West of England, some in London”.

Surge testing, increased genomic sequencing, and improved contact tracing have all been introduced in the affected regions.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are monitoring the situation very closely and will not hesitate to take further action if necessary. “

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Indian variant is “worrying” – PM

The health ministry said there was “no strong evidence yet to show that this variant has a greater impact on the severity of the disease or escapes the vaccine.”

But he added: “As stated in the roadmap, we cannot rule out reimposing economic and social restrictions at the local or regional level if evidence suggests they are needed to contain or remove a variant that eludes the vaccine. . “

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told Sky News his “heart sank” when he heard the Prime Minister raise the possibility of a return to local restrictions, saying: “They really didn’t work. “

“We are in a different situation this year because, although we are seeing the spread of the Indian variant in Bolton, we are not seeing 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. “

Also speaking to Sky News, Mr Zahawi said young people in those areas could be offered a COVID shot sooner.

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Will new measures mean cases will rise again?

“Clinicians will be looking at all of this to see how we can tailor the immunization schedule to make it as effective as possible to deal with this surge in this variant, B1617.2,” he said.

“They will make these decisions and we will be ready to implement them, whether it is vaccinating younger cohorts.

“We worked on multigenerational households where we vaccinate the whole household, the over 18s, and of course the older groups who are already eligible.

“Or, by coming up with the second dose – we look at it all and we let the clinicians guide us as to what we do about it. “

This was supported by Mr Burnham, who said: ‘We have a lot of young people in places like Bolton who work quite insecure so if they get sick they fear they won’t get paid if they have to. time off from work. . “

He added: “So vaccination, supporting self-isolation, these are the things the government should be doing, not doing what may seem like the easiest thing to just lock up local communities” .

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