Live updates from Leeds Covid as Boris Johnson expected to announce four-week postponement of June 21 lockdown
The chances of the coronavirus restrictions ending on June 21 seem less and less likely.
A sharp increase in cases of the Delta variant, first identified in India, has seen calls for the government to suspend the roadmap out of lockdown for England.
Data suggests the strain is 60% more transmissible than the previously dominant Alpha, or Kent, variant, and cases were doubling every four and a half days in parts of England.
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Today (Saturday), Boris Johnson warned that the spread of the variant is a subject of “series and serious concern”.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce a delay in lifting the lockdown in England for up to four weeks amid warnings the country is facing a third wave of the virus.
He told Sky News: “It is clear that the Indian variant is more transmissible and it is also true that cases are increasing and hospitalization levels are increasing.
“Now we don’t know exactly how much of this will translate into additional mortality, but it is clearly a matter of great concern.”
When asked if he was less optimistic now than he was at the end of May, he replied, “Yes, that is certainly right.
“What we want to do is make sure the roadmap is irreversible, but you can’t have an irreversible roadmap unless you are prepared to be careful. Some data is still questionable, but we will make an announcement on Monday. “
The British Medical Association (BMA) has joined calls to halt any further easing with the variant first identified in India, estimated at 96% of new cases.
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