UK Government may follow Wales in delaying easing of lockdown beyond June 21
UK Government sources are briefing that they may delay the easing of lockdown restrictions in England beyond June 21.
Boris Johnson revealed his “cautious but irreversible” plan to lift all restrictions in February but the plan has been put in doubt by the new 40% more transmissible Delta variant of the virus which is now dominant in England.
Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford has already confirmed that all restrictions won’t be lifted in Wales on June 21, even if they are in England.
Unnamed UK Government sources have now conceded to the Sun newspaper that lifting all restrictions on June 21 may be scrapped and that they are now “drawing up other options”.
It is believed that they could be planning to move the date in two weeks’ time by a further two weeks to allow time for more people to be jabbed.
The move comes after Wales’ First Minister argued it would be “too risky” to open up fully, and that it won’t happen until everybody received at least the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Mark Drakeford told Good Morning Britain on Friday: “Were England to lift all restrictions on the 21st of June, that will not be the case in Wales.
“Life in Wales will be very significantly back to as it was before, but there still will be some things which we think are too risky and we we’ll not be allowing those until we’re more certain that we’ve got everybody vaccinated at least with the first dose and as many people as possible with the second dose.
“So that we have the maximum protection against any new dangers that this virus that has had many many unpleasant surprises up its sleeve, that we’re as confident as we can be that we’ve built those protections as high as possible.”
COVID-19 infections have risen significantly in England, and almost doubled in the last week of May.
The UK’s Office for National Statistics said this was due to the prevalence of the delta variant, which was first detected in India.
The health ministry estimated that the reproduction “R” number in England was between 1 and 1.2, and the epidemic could be growing by as much as 3% each day.
Of the 12,431 delta variant cases so far confirmed in the UK, 10,797 are in England, 1,511 in Scotland, 97 in Wales and 26 in Northern Ireland.
Three hundred people were self-isolating due to the new Delta variant of coronavirus in Wales on Friday, according to the First Minister.