Johnson said, “It is wise to wait a while,” because the Delta variant will trigger a new wave of infections.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that due to the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant, the next plan to relax the coronavirus restrictions in the UK will be postponed for four weeks until July 19.
“Based on the evidence I see now, I believe we don’t need to exceed four weeks, nor do we need to exceed July 19,” Johnson said at a press conference when he announced the postponement of the original June 21 reopening date .
The British Prime Minister stated that “it would be wise to wait a while” and “now is the time to relax the accelerator”.
According to the government’s plan to lift the blockade, all social contact restrictions will be lifted next Monday. Many companies, especially the hotel and entertainment industry, expressed their disappointment before the official announcement.
The extra time will be used to accelerate the UK’s vaccination program-already one of the most advanced in the world-by shortening the recommended vaccination interval for people over 40 years old from 12 weeks to 8 weeks.
“By Monday, July 19, our goal is to get two thirds of the adult population to have double stabs,” Johnson said at a press conference.
The situation will be reviewed on June 28, which may allow reopening, but Johnson’s spokesperson said this is considered unlikely.
In recent weeks, there has been a rapid increase in new cases caused by the Delta variant first discovered in India. Health officials believe that it is 60% more infectious than the previous major strain, and scientists warn that it may cause a third wave of infections.
A study published on Monday showed that the Delta variant Double the risk of hospitalization, But two doses of vaccine can still provide strong protection.
On Monday, the UK recorded 7,742 new COVID-19 cases and 3 deaths. Johnson said that the number of cases in the UK is increasing by about 64% every week, and the number of people in intensive care is also increasing.
Johnson said: “By being cautious now, we have the opportunity to save thousands of lives by vaccinating millions of people in the next four weeks.”
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, since the beginning of the pandemic, the UK has officially reported nearly 4.5 million cases and more than 128,000 deaths, the seventh highest number in the world.
Monday’s decision is based on a scientific model that suggests that if the reopening proceeds as planned, in some cases, the number of hospitalizations may match the ministers’ concerns about the health system being overwhelmed last March.
Unlike in March 2020, the increase in hospitalization may occur among young people who require shorter treatment time and are at a lower risk of death.