Downing Street reneged on the pledge to announce a change in social distancing rules and the outcome of a Covid passport review later this month, stressing that there is now no ‘fixed time For announcements.
Likewise, it’s still unclear whether the lifting of wedding restrictions from June 21 – the final step in Boris Johnson’s reopening roadmap for England – will be announced on May 24, as he says. had indicated last week.
The spotlight has fallen on the issue of vaccine reluctance after Mr Hancock said most people hospitalized with the Indian variant in Bolton were eligible for the Covid vaccine but had not had one.
Lord Lloyd-Webber, the famous composer of musicals, criticized those who refused to be vaccinated, stressing that the reopening date of June 21 was “absolutely critical” for the theater industry.
He told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “If that doesn’t happen, I don’t even want to think about it. It has been such a devastating time for everyone.
“I feel so deep right now, especially the people who don’t get the vaccine and all, how selfish it is, because so many people depend on that June 21 date – they really depend on it.
But others cautioned against being too critical. Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, said those who do not want a vaccine should not be “stigmatized” by the rest of society. Number 10 distanced himself from an anonymous government minister who told Politico: “The risk is that a small number of idiots will ruin it for everyone. “
A government source involved in vaccine planning has warned of the scapegoat for communities in which vaccine uptake lags, telling the Telegraph: “The last thing we want is to push back the June 21 date. because this will lead to poor social cohesion. “
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Mr Hancock said 19 people in Bolton were in hospital with the Indian variant and eight in Blackburn, and that it was now the dominant strain in the region.