United Kingdom minister says Delta variant 40 percent more transmissible

07 Juin, 2021, 01:34 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Hancock gives clearest sign yet June 21 could be delayed

Concerns are mounting over whether the emergence of the Delta variant threatens the government's provisional June 21 deadline for lifting virus restrictions.

However, he pointed out that a majority of those in hospital as a result of the Delta variant had not had a vaccine at all and only a "small minority" had had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, which the minister said reflects the scientific advice that one vaccine is not quite as effective against the Delta VOC as against the Alpha variant but both doses are just as effective.

The comments come as Covid-19 cases have continued to surge in the United Kingdom amid reports Boris Johnson is considering delaying so-called freedom day by at least two weeks in order to allow more people to be fully vaccinated against the Indian variant.

The senior Government minister also implied that social distancing could continue beyond the final stage of the Prime Minister's road map.

Dame Anne Johnson, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at University College London (UCL), said reopening would be a "very finely judged decision" and that society will need to learn to live with coronavirus.

More than 40 million people across the United Kingdom have so far had a first dose of a vaccine.

Labour's Lisa Nandy said the Government should take the advice of public health officials when it came to vaccinating under-18s.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended in May that the second dose interval should be reduced from 12 weeks to eight for those aged 50 and over, as well as the clinically vulnerable.

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"I want to protect education as much as anybody does, and so making sure that we don't have those whole bubbles having to go home, especially as we saw over the autumn for instance, that has upsides for education".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has given the clearest sign yet June 21's so-called Freedom Day could be pushed back by rising coronavirus case numbers.

"Everybody must go and get their second jab though because the first isn't as effective on its own", he said.

"I think since everybody is going to be able to get the vaccination, other than those who for medical reasons can't, I think it really is important that people are encouraged to get vaccinated", he told the Andrew Marr Show.

"And of course it's critical we keep coming forward for our jabs when it's our turn, including that vital second jab which we now know gives better protection against the Delta variant".

He stressed that June 21 was a "not before" date and that it was only "pencilled in" as the next step out of lockdown.

"It's a very hard, a very finely balanced decision for the government and it's absolutely right that it's taken on the basis of all the available data", she said.

Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. Only call NHS 111 if you can not cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days.

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