COVID-19 'Freedom Day' for England delayed by four weeks

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams
Viewpoint letters (June 20, 2019)

Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister has announced that the Government will be delaying the fourth and final stage of the roadmap out of lockdown.

This was due on June 21 – but is being delayed by a further four weeks, until July 19.

People in England will have to wait longer for the easing of all rules around social contact, the reopening of certain types of venues, and removal of limits for the number of people meeting indoors.

The decision is due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant. There has been nearly 7,500 recorded cases in the UK in the past week, according to figures released on Sunday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson highlighted that a delay of one month would allow 10m more second doses of the vaccine to be administered.

“A proportion of the elderly and vulnerable may still succumb even if they have two jabs,” he said.

“Even if the link between infection and hospitalisation is being weakened, it hasn’t been severed. The number of those in intensive care is rising.

“We faced a difficult choice – we could simply keep going, and there’s a real possibility that the virus will outrun the vaccine.

“Or we would give the NHS a few more weeks to get jabs into those that need them.”

The plan is now to accelerate the rate of second jabs for the over 40s and bring forward the target for the first dose – by July 19.

Now 23-24-year-olds will be invited for their jabs starting tomorrow, to reduce the transmission among the group that mixes the most.

Mr Johnson said he was ‘confident’ that the UK will not have to delay any longer than four weeks.

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