The British government will decide next month whether to continue in the final stage of easing the lockdown, despite concerns about a new coronavirus variant. “It is the biggest step on our road map. We will make a final decision on it on June 14,” Health Minister Matt Hancock told Sky News.
The government imposed a new lockdown at the beginning of this year and is now working to gradually end it. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had hoped to make the final move on June 21. At this point, all restrictions on social contacts in England should be abolished.
However, the authorities are very concerned about the new Indian variant of the virus. Minister Hancock said: “We have seen more than 1,300 cases of this. The virus strain will be prevalent in parts of the country, such as Bolton and Blackburn.” According to the minister, the variant can spread very quickly among unvaccinated people.
Prime Minister Johnson had already warned last week that the Indian alternative could affect his plans to cancel the lockdown. According to him, the exact procedures required will depend on the extent of the variant’s contagion. The efficacy of vaccines against the Indian mutant is also being investigated.
Johnson also announced that he would like to vaccinate people over 50 and vulnerable groups more quickly due to concerns about the Indian alternative. According to the BBC, they will soon receive a second dose of the vaccine after eight weeks, while a twelve-week waiting period was applied before that.
The United Kingdom is already one of the international leaders in the field of vaccination. Most British adults have already received the first vaccine and more than 36 per cent have already been vaccinated. Minister Hancock said that the preliminary research results indicate that the vaccines work against the Indian species.
“We are in a race between our vaccination program and the virus,” Sky Minister said. And the virus can accelerate thanks to this new alternative.
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