Prime Minister’s statement on coronavirus
As we all now know with certainty, the Prime Minister has confirmed a four-week delay to step four of the government’s roadmap until 19 July due to concerns caused by the Delta variant and to allow for more people to receive their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before further easing of restrictions takes place. The extension of restrictions will be put to a Commons vote, with a debate expected on Wednesday.
The delay means limits remain on how many people can meet, with groups of up to 30 allowed to meet outdoors and up to six people or two households allowed indoors. However, 15 coronavirus pilot events will continue as planned, including some upcoming Euro 2020 games, Wimbledon and arts and music performances. Attendees will have to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test. However, capacity limits will continue at other venues and nightclubs will stay closed and advice to work from home where possible will remain in place.
In addition to the pilot events, from 21 June, the number of guests at weddings and wakes will no longer be limited to 30. However, venues will have to adhere to social distancing and hosts will have to do a risk assessment. Table service will be required – with six people per table – and no indoor dance floors allowed.
Care home residents will no-longer have to isolate for 14 days after returning from visits outside. Exceptions will include high-risk trips such as overnight hospital stays.
The proposed extension will be reviewed to see if action can be taken two weeks’ sooner on 5 July.
New analysis by Public Health England (PHE) has shown two doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine are highly effective at preventing hospital admissions from the Delta variant. PHE said the effectiveness was comparable to protection against the Alpha variant which was previously dominant in the UK.
To ensure people have the strongest possible protection against COVID-19, appointments for second doses have been brought forward from 12 to eight weeks for the remaining people in the top nine priority groups who have yet to receive both doses. Anyone that is over the age of 40 and has yet to have their second dose can bring their vaccine forward by cancelling their current 2nd dose appointment. On cancellation, new booking slots become available 8 weeks from the first dose, rather than from 12 weeks. An earlier target has also been set to give every adult in this country a first dose by 19 July, that is including young people over the age of 18 with the online vaccination booking system available to 23 and 24 year olds from today (15 June). To book a vaccination, or to manage (cancel and re-book a 2nd dose) people can visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/
By Friday of last week, (11 June), the government announced that over 70 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered in the UK, with 78% of adults now having received a first dose. Health services across the UK working alongside councils have administered a total of 70,253,625 vaccines since 8 December, including 41 million people with their first dose and 29 million with their second.