UK : Lockdown extended by 4 weeks
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday confirmed a four-week delay to an end to all legal lockdown restrictions, which was previously set for June 21, as he said the link between coronavirus infections and hospitalisations remains at concerning levels due to the Delta variant.
The last and fourth stage of the lockdown roadmap, dubbed “Freedom Day”, will now move to July 19 instead amid a worrying spike in cases of the Delta variant, first identified in India, which experts fear will result in greater hospitalisations in coming weeks.
“We will now accelerate the second jabs for the over-40s, just as we did for over-50s, to give them all maximum protection,” he said, in reference to a planned acceleration of the vaccination programme.
The extra time would be used to speed up Britain’s vaccination programme – already one of the world’s furthest advanced – by shortening the recommended time between doses for those aged over 40 to eight weeks from 12 weeks.
On Monday, Britain recorded 7,742 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths. Johnson said Britain was seeing cases growing by about 64% per week and the number of people in hospital intensive care was rising.
It comes despite Britain having one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in the world. More than 41 million people have received their first shot and nearly 30 million have had both doses – about 57% of the adult population.
Johnson said the virus cannot be eliminated while adding that “we must learn to live with it” and that “once the adults of this country have been overwhelmingly vaccinated we will be in a far stronger position to live with this disease”.