British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday June 14 the postponement of four weeks – until July 19 – of the lifting of the latest restrictions in England to fight the Covid-19 epidemic, on advice from scientists concerned about the Delta variant surge.
During a press conference in Downing Street, the Prime Minister said to himself « very concerned ” by the Delta variant. Originally appeared in India, this variant “Is spreading faster than expected in the roadmap drawn up in February”, which provided for a total reopening from June 21. The leader therefore prefers “Wait until July 19, to give the [service de santé] the additional time required “.
About 60% more contagious than the Alpha variant, which appeared in England, the Delta variant is now dominant in the United Kingdom, the country in Europe most affected by the pandemic with nearly 128,000 deaths. After a long winter confinement and a vigorous vaccination campaign, the government has gradually removed restrictions. But the number of new infections has recently increased, exceeding 7,000 new cases recorded daily.
The last stage of deconfinement provides, among other things, for the reopening of nightclubs and the authorization for theaters to accommodate at full capacity. The new deadline threatens to infuriate part of Mr Johnson’s Tory camp and is also a huge setback for many companies, especially in the hospitality industry, which were hoping for a full summer reopening to make up for it. losses of the past year.
In recent days Mr Johnson had reiterated that he wanted to take a cautious approach and “Irreversible” in terms of deconfinement. Postponing the lifting of the latest restrictions saves time by vaccinating more people and thus protecting a larger part of the population from the virus, he assured.
More than 41.5 million people, or nearly 79% of the adult population, have received a first dose of the vaccine and 29.8 million people, or 56.6% of the adult population, have been doubly vaccinated.