COVID-19: Ministers fear PM will delay lifting of June 21 lockdown by up to one month

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COVID-19: Ministers fear PM will delay lifting of June 21 lockdown by up to one month


Ministers fear Boris Johnson could potentially delay the final step in lifting the lockdown in England for up to a month.

There is widespread pessimism within the government as to whether the prime minister will be able to give the green light to the fourth stage of the unlock on June 21 when he makes an announcement on Monday.

The plan to lift the lockdown, drawn up in February, suggested that “the government hopes to be able to remove all legal limits on social contact” no earlier than that date.

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Four tests to lift the containment

Number 10 insists Mr Johnson will not decide to continue until after the G7 ends on Sunday night.

He is then expected to announce his decision to the nation at a press conference Monday night.

Among the options, it is understood that a delay of two or four weeks, with the most recent data leading many in the government to assume that Mr Johnson will opt for four weeks.

The Prime Minister is believed to wish to make easements in areas such as weddings.

However, the reopening of nightclubs and other entertainment venues seems threatened by the last digits, which includes an increase to 173 in the number of people hospitalized, which is a statistically significant increase from that period a week ago, when there was a seven-day moving average of around 120.

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Numerous cases of the Delta (Indian) variant were recorded less than 28 days ago, meaning ministers remain unclear on the true scale of hospitalizations.

Other figures from the NHS are expected to join the British Medical Association calling for a postponement of the lifting of the final stage of the roadmap.

There are signs of political consensus behind any delay if the prime minister asks for one.

A source from the Treasury said: ‘We have to see what the data says, but if it shows that a delay is needed, the economic support is already in place because we hugged the budget for exactly that reason – to cover the costs. roadmap dates. “

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In the past, Chancellor Rishi Sunak was less enthusiastic than other members of the government about the lockdown.

Businesses fear the government will introduce a series of ongoing reviews creating weeks of uncertainty.

However, a source told Sky News that the prime minister was determined to provide “certainty” on Monday evening.

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