As expected, England’s relaxation of coronavirus measures will be postponed to July 19. Prime Minister Johnson announced the news at a press conference. The intention is actually to implement a major relaxation next Monday.
For some time, people have been expecting to extend these measures. In recent days, the country has been concerned about the increasing number of infections with the delta variant of the corona virus (the Indian variant), which is more contagious than the main alpha variant (the UK). Due to the delta variant, the Netherlands has designated the United Kingdom as a very high-risk area.
In his press conference, Johnson outlined the situation in hospitals and intensive care units, which will soon be full again, partly because of the delta variant. According to him, the number of infections has increased by 64% in the past week. The previous easing policy has been expected to increase, but Johnson said that “according to the ruthless logic of exponential growth as we know now,” the slowdown is justified.
Get vaccinated faster
According to Johnson, he is now facing the choice of further relaxing the policy, risking “the virus runs faster than the vaccine” or creating more time for vaccination campaigns. He chose the latter. The situation will be reviewed on June 28, but it is not expected to relax in advance by then.
The British government believes that it will not exceed four weeks. Johnson said: “By being careful now, we have four weeks to save thousands of lives by vaccinating millions of people.” “Now is the time to get out of the car.”
In order to prepare for relaxation in four weeks, the British Prime Minister is speeding up the vaccination campaign. As of July 19, all adults in the country must now have their first corona injection. 66% of people must be fully vaccinated. In addition, people over 40 years old received the second injection earlier than planned after the first injection.
Vaccines effective against delta variants
Shortly before Johnson’s press conference, the British health authorities received positive news about the fight against the Delta variant. According to the latest data, Pfizer and AstraZeneca’s vaccines provide 96% and 92% variant protection after two injections, which is equivalent to the protection provided by injections against alpha variants.
“These very important findings confirm that the vaccine provides significant protection against hospitalizations due to delta variants,” said Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at the Department of Public Health England.