CARBIS BAY. The British government of Boris Johnson is concretely considering a postponement of the fourth and final leg of the UK exit from the lockdown restrictions of 4 weeks compared to the date initially mentioned of 21 June. This was reported by unofficial sources cited by the BBC, confirming that the premier – struggling these days with the G7 summit in Cornwall – appears willing to follow the recommendations of various experts, worried about the rebound caused by the Delta variant (formerly Indian) of the infections that have risen in the country yesterday at over 8000 a day: a rebound whose impact on serious cases, hospitalizations and deaths is for now contained – but partially – by the accelerated effect of a vaccine campaign that has reached the island at over 70 million doses administered.
We are at the highest increase in infections since February, in the last 24 hours there are 8,125 cases against the 7,393 of the previous day. There are 17 deaths, 28 days after a positive test, compared to seven yesterday and in the last week the cases have increased by 90 percent equal to 30 thousand units. Fueled by the contagious Delta variant (formerly Indian) responsible for 90 percent of the new infected with a transmissibility 60 percent higher than the previous ones, the rebound of infections increases with each new detection. According to official estimates released today, daily infections are now increasing from 3% to 6% across the country with a growth rate not seen since cases began to rise late last year. In light of the latest data, the British Medical Association (BMA) has launched an appeal to delay the relaxation of the latest restrictions still in force, due to the “rapid increase in cases”.
June 21 is the date set for the easing of restrictions, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government had already left itself room for maneuver, stating on several occasions that the executive does not generally foresee the need for postponements but does not even excludes it until the last data check scheduled for Monday 14th. But yesterday’s statements by BMA sound like a serious alarm bell that the relaxation of the remaining restrictions should not go through until there is a “better understanding of the implications” of the increase in cases in the coming days. And according to the media, the premier is preparing to postpone phase four for two or four weeks, which involves the reopening of nightclubs and the lifting of restrictions on shows, weddings and other public events.
Meanwhile, the vaccination campaign continues at a rapid pace, which is able to curb the severity of the disease. So far 70,253,625 doses of the vaccine have been administered across the UK, accounting for more than half of the island’s over 16 adults. Of these, 41,088,485 are first doses, with a 24-hour growth of 201,607 inoculations. Those who instead completed the vaccination cycle with both administrations are 29,165,140, with an increase of 308,038 compared to the previous day. But, says state agency Public Health England, nearly two-thirds of people infected with the Delta variant have not received any vaccines.
And even if the number of hospitalized patients is still very low (1,058), the risk of a rebound also on this front is concrete: “If many people become infected, there will be an increase in hospitalizations”, warned the vice president of the Association of directors of public health Jim McManus. And fear is set to grow in a country that has so far had 4,550,944 total cases and 127,884 deaths.