FMasks and working from home could remain beyond June 21 if cases of the Indian coronavirus variant continue to rise, according to reports.
Government ministers are increasingly concerned about the spread of the strain and the possibility that it could derail plans to remove all restrictions next month, the Times reports.
The Treasury would prioritize ending the “one meter plus” distance rule, as well as the “rule of six” indoors to help boost hospitality and retail outlets.
The UK on Friday recorded 4,000 coronavirus cases for the first time since the end of March, while the R number rose above one for the first time since January.
The R-value is the average number of people to whom an infected person will transmit the virus. If it exceeds one, it means the pandemic is developing.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has previously said the government “cannot guarantee” that the final step in lifting the lockdown will go as planned.
If the Indian variant – known to be more transmissible than previous dominant strains in the UK – causes an increase in hospital admissions, the June 21 date may have to be pushed back.
However, Mr Kwarteng said there was “nothing in the data” at this time to suggest it would be postponed.
In an effort to help reduce the spread of the virus, masks may still be needed on public transport after June 21.
The guidelines that people should work from home if they can can also remain in place.
Boris Johnson is expected to make a decision on the restrictions that can be lifted in the next fortnight.
Meanwhile, an expert warned on Saturday that “confusion” over the government’s handling of Covid restrictions is undermining efforts to control the virus.
Professor Stephen Reicher, a psychologist on the Sage subcommittee advising ministers on behavioral science, said the government was in a “pinch” because it appeared to have abandoned the “data not dates” principle.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Professor Reicher said: “I think we are in a difficult situation right now on the part of the government.
“I think the reason for this is that he has strayed from his own mantra of ‘data, not dates’.
“Very quickly, ‘data not dates’ became ‘dates not given’.
“People were promised that things would happen on particular dates and they invested so much in them, and the government invested so much political capital in them, that it became very difficult to do anything else if the data suggested. that it was not wise. “
Current data suggests that although hospital admissions are increasing in parts of the country affected by the Indian variant, overall admissions remain broadly stable.