UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed a four-week delay to the lifting of all the remaining Covid restrictions in England beyond June 21, citing the risk of highly transmissible Delta variant.
The confirmed delay means the lifting of restrictions will not take place until July 19, as the new move will allow more time for people to be vaccinated given the dangers of the Delta variant, Xinhua news agency quoted Johnson as saying at a press conference on Monday evening.
“I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer,” Johnson said.
“As things stand, and on the evidence that I can see right now, I’m confident that we will not need more than four weeks.”
He said that his government was “so concerned” by the Delta variant that is “now spreading faster than the third wave predicted in the February roadmap”.
“We’re seeing cases growing by about 64 percent per week, and in the worst affected areas, it’s doubling every week,” he said.
The government will step up its efforts to vaccinate the people in the country, he said.
The over-40s who have had their first jab will only have to wait eight weeks instead of 12 weeks for their second jab, and 23 and 24-year-olds will start to be offered a vaccine from Tuesday, the Prime Minister said.
More than 41.6 million people have received their first dose of a Covid vaccine and more than 29.9 million have received their second dose across Britain, according to the latest official figures.
Meanwhile, weddings can go ahead with more than 30 people from June 21, as long as people stick with social distancing, the Prime Minister confirmed.
The UK reported another 7,742 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total ninfection tally in the country to 4,589,398, according to official figures.
The country also recorded another three coronavirus-related fatalities, bringing the total number of deaths in Britain to 128,171.