After the surge in Covid-19 cases, Boris Johnson’s chief medical adviser urged him to postpone the removal of the remaining coronavirus restrictions in England, so he will postpone the removal of the remaining coronavirus restrictions in England.
These restrictions were originally scheduled to be lifted on June 21, but England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty asked for a four-week postponement. The Prime Minister is scheduled to make an announcement on Monday.
As the NHS races to vaccinate more adults, anticipation of lifting restrictions is delayed The number of Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations has risen sharply Due to a variant of the coronavirus called Delta, it has spread throughout the UK. According to “Financial Times” analysis, nearly 15 million adults in England are still unvaccinated, including 2 million people over 50 years old.
According to statistics, 9 out of every 10 new Covid-19 cases are Delta variants Public Health England The report released on Friday.
The PHE data also showed that Delta, originally discovered in India, has a 64% higher transmission rate than the previously dominant Alpha variant that originated in Kent.
Two senior officials in Whitehall said that Whitty this week suggested that Johnson postpone the final phase of the British government’s blockade relaxation plan for four weeks, and emphasized that a short delay is not enough to control the spread of the virus.
Whitty told the Prime Minister that a four-week postponement was essential to avoid a situation where restrictions were lifted prematurely and later had to be restored.
An ally of Johnson said: “Irreversibility is driving Boris’s thinking. He doesn’t want to relax the restrictions now so that he can recover in the future.”
Downing Street stated that it “has not yet decided” whether the restrictions will be lifted on June 21. According to government officials, Johnson may relax guidance on the size of the wedding on June 21, even if he retains other restrictions.
Since two doses of the coronavirus vaccine show good protection against Delta variant infection, the government is seeking to put more vaccines into use. Currently, 55.4% of adults have received two doses.
Johnson obtained the data on Thursday, which outlines the latest analysis of the Delta variant and its potential impact on the NHS. An official said: “It is vital now that we must strike everyone a double blow as soon as possible.”
A cabinet office insider said: “Delay [to lifting the final restrictions] Is the only wise approach. This is our working hypothesis. The latest model is terrible, and continuing to relax fully will be suicide. ”
The government’s medical consultants have simulated the impact of the 4-week delay on vaccination levels and concluded that a smaller delay will not have much impact.
But they believe that by increasing the number of adults who are fully vaccinated with two doses and providing more young people with at least a certain degree of single-immunization protection, four weeks will have a major impact.
An official said: “They can predict how many people in different age groups will be vaccinated, and the model shows that it will have a significant impact on positive cases after 4 weeks,” he added, which will allow the NHS to vaccinate people over the age of 40. Double whammy. And the most vulnerable people.
Since the beginning of March, the UK has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases per week, with 45,895 new infections reported in the past 7 days. This is an increase of 58% over the previous week.
National Bureau of Statistics data It shows that the infection rate is the highest in Northwest England and secondary school-age children.
Since the Delta variant became dominant, the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations has risen sharply, with 884 beds in England on Friday, up from the May 22 low of 730. This has increased by 9.8% in the past week.
The vaccine did not break the link between cases, hospitalizations and deaths, but the data shows that it has significantly weakened.
According to PHE, more than half of the 42 people who died after infection with the Delta variant were not vaccinated.
According to the analysis of the Financial Times, compared with the wave of infections last fall, elderly people are now much less likely to be infected by vaccination. With the recent surge in cases, the mortality rate may be reduced by 75%.
Scientists, health leaders and economists support the reasons for delaying the end of the restrictions in England until after June 21.
Ravi Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge and a member of the government’s emerging respiratory virus threat advisory group, said, “This is a delicate period because vaccination has not yet covered enough people. We are facing Lost some of the gains we made.”
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents national health leaders, said that he believes the decision on whether to advance the June 21 easing policy is “very balanced.” .. But given that the trust and frontline employees are now doing their best to deal with [non-Covid treatment] To build up a backlog and respond to the ever-increasing need for urgent care, only a slight increase in Covid-19 cases can disrupt non-Covid care”.
Kallum Pickering, economist at Berenberg Bank, said the economic impact of delaying the final relaxation of restrictions will be negligible.
He added: “In any case, if the vaccine proves to be a game changer, any damage caused by the subsequent relaxation of the policy after most restrictions are lifted may be offset by the confidence effect.”