UK Covid data worsens ahead of Johnson’s lockdown decision
Covid-19 infection in United kingdom And it continued to rise, posing a dilemma for Prime Minister Boris Johnson before a critical decision was made on Monday on whether to proceed with the final phase of reopening the economy later this month.
Data released on Friday by the Office for National Statistics showed 1 in 560 people in England contracted the virus in the week to 4 June, compared to 1 in 640 in the previous week and 1 in 1,340 in the week to 8 May.
The month-long upward trend was fueled by a rapidly spreading delta variant of the virus first identified in India, which now accounts for more than 90% of infections in the UK. Public Health England said on Friday that the number of confirmed cases of the strain had tripled in one week to 42,323.
The growing numbers have prompted ministers to discuss options that include delays ranging from nine days to a month for the planned reopening on June 21, allowing some respite to go ahead and some not.
“Let’s not waste such close achievements” in the fight against the virus, Vaccine Minister Nadim Zahawi told BBC Radio on Friday. “The virus has not gone away, it will try to survive by mutating.”
Office for National Statistics data also showed increases in the number of cases in Scotland and Northern Ireland, with decreases in Wales.
While Al-Zahawi said the government will continue to assess the data over the weekend, his comments indicate that the planned easing will likely be delayed. This would put Johnson in direct conflict with prominent members of his Conservative Party, whose “Freedom Day” on June 21 has become totemic.
open for delay
But with Finance Minister Rishi Sunak among those willing to accept a delay, a major hurdle has been removed for the prime minister if he decides the data now justifies it. In March, Sunak extended key economic support for workers and businesses until the end of September to allow for delays in the government’s “roadmap” to open the economy.
The government was optimistic that one of the world’s most advanced vaccination programs would allow United kingdom Completely cancel social distancing measures on June 21, including a requirement that bars and restaurants provide table service only, and limits on stage, concerts and sports audiences. And restrictions on the number of attendees at weddings. According to plans, nightclubs could reopen for the first time in 15 months.
Now the tone is changing. Ministers are considering options that include continued use of indoor masks, ongoing social distancing rules and restrictions on the number of people congregating indoors or outdoors, according to people familiar with the matter.
It has always been the case that the dates of the four-step plan for reopening the economy were the first possible days in which relaxations could occur. But after carrying out the first three steps as scheduled, the new variant put the final stage in jeopardy.
“It’s really important that we try to open up our economy again, because the economic damage is massive,” former Prime Minister Tony Blair told Bloomberg TV on Friday. He suggested the rules continue to be relaxed, at least for those who have been vaccinated.
“If you balance restrictions with risk management, then it makes sense, in my opinion, to give people who are vaccinated more freedom,” he said. “More freedom to travel, more freedom than restrictions.”
There has been some positive news for the government: Zahawi said the link between coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths has been broken. He said cases were up 63% last week, hospital admissions were up 7% and deaths were up 1.9%.
“These were hard-won battles against the virus,” he said.
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