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Lockdown Easing Delayed Until 19th July

Boris Johnson addresses Covid Press Conference on 14th June 2021.
Lauren McGaun

In today’s press briefing, Boris Johnson confirmed that the easing of COVID restrictions in England will be delayed for another four weeks. 

The delay to the lifting of restrictions on social contact will mean that nightclubs will stay closed and capacities on venues such as cafes and pubs will remain. Whilst hospitalisations have remained relatively flat, government data has shown that admissions were “beginning to creep up.”

There is also concern that the greater transmissibility rate of the Delta variant, first identified in India, could lead to the virus running rampant in the young population who are yet to be vaccinated, inadvertently passing the virus on to the more vulnerable. Today, Public Health England reported that the UK had logged 7,742 new infections in just the last 24 hours.

The government hopes that the delay will give them time to deliver more second vaccinations

Johnson and government scientists therefore decided that the four key tests for easing lockdown would not be met by the 21st June. 

“I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer,” Johnson said.

The government hopes that the delay will give them time to deliver more second vaccinations to the older population, as well as delivering first jabs to those under 25.

Johnson did however have some good news. The restrictions on weddings will be lifted meaning that guests can now exceed 30. Although, venues will still have to stick to social distancing rules meaning hosting limits may still apply and table service must be enforced throughout.

When questioned on what the landscape will look like on the 19th July, the PM described this as a ‘terminus date’ and was confident that all restrictions would be lifted at this time, recognising that as the point at which England had to return to some normality. He didn’t however rule out the possibility of new COVID-19 variants which could potentially delay this progress.

Hundreds of students queued at the South entrance of the QMC’s pop up vaccination clinic

There was significant backlash that the government statement had been delivered to the media before Parliament however, with Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle describing the boycotting of Parliamentary sovereignty as “totally unacceptable.” In his place, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock was made to explain the government’s decision to the Commons at 8.30pm.

The news comes after hundreds of students queued at the South entrance of the QMC’s pop up vaccination clinic in the hope of their first jabs. It has also been reported that the Forest Recreational Ground will have a walk in vaccine clinic on Wednesday for any local residents over the age of 18.

The government announced today that from tomorrow, 23 and 24 year olds are eligible to book their COVID vaccine, through the government website.

Lauren McGaun

Featured image courtesy of Number 10 on Flickr. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.

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