© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A dose of AstraZeneca vaccine is prepared at the COVID-19 vaccination center at the Odeon Luxe cinema in Maidstone, Britain February 10, 2021. REUTERS / Andrew Couldridge / File Photo
LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hopes of ending the coronavirus lockdown in England on June 21 were at stake on Friday as data showed a further rise in cases of the fast-spreading Delta variant.
Johnson must announce the Monday (NASDAQ 🙂 if the planned lifting of restrictions, which would end limits on social contact, can be completed in time.
But the rapid spread of the Delta variant, officially a “worrying variant”, put those plans in jeopardy, leading to suspicion that the June 21 date would be pushed back or some restrictions would remain.
“We have to be very careful. We had a very grand opening on May 17th where people could meet friends indoors, in a restaurant, in a pub, and socialize indoors as well,” the minister said. of COVID-19 vaccines Nadhim Zahawi. Radio.
“And I think it’s important that we take a very careful look at the data this weekend and then share it with the nation.”
The total number of UK cases of the Delta variant, first identified in India, jumped from 29,892 to 42,323, Public Health England said on Friday, adding that the variant currently accounts for over 90% of new COVID cases. -19.
The figure was a big jump from the 12,431 cases of Delta reported last week, although it is not directly comparable as new genotyping tests were used this week, meaning cases of the variant may now be confirmed within 48 hours.
A leading British epidemiologist said on Wednesday that the Delta variant would be 60% more transmissible than the previously dominant Alpha variant. Some scientists have called for a delay in easing restrictions so more people can receive a second dose of the vaccine.
A widely followed prevalence survey showed that the number of people with COVID-19 would have increased in the week to June 5, but not as sharply as the week before.
Johnson said an increase in cases was still expected after the final stage of the lockdown easing in May, but the key to whether Stage 4 can go on June 21 will be the extent to which the vaccine rolls out. British broke the link between the cases and deaths.
Britain’s total death toll from COVID-19 is over 127,000, but the daily death toll has declined following a third nationwide lockdown and rapid vaccine rollout. More than three-quarters of adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
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