Worry about delta variant
London (dpa) – Because of the rapid spread of the Delta variant, people in England have to wait even longer for further corona easing.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson extended the still applicable Corona measures until July 19 on Monday, as he explained at a press conference in London. “We had a very difficult decision to make,” said the head of government. “But I think it makes sense to wait a little longer.”
The “Day of Freedom”, which was previously planned for June 21, will therefore be postponed by up to four weeks. So far, it was planned that on Monday next week in England all contact restrictions still in force will be lifted, nightclubs will reopen and theaters will be allowed to play in full halls again. Shops and restaurants have already been open for weeks anyway.
Now only the rules for weddings and a few other cultural events will be relaxed on this date – more than 30 guests are now allowed there again. The other parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own corona rules, which, however, differ only slightly from those in England. In some regions, planned easing was initially postponed.
The vaccination program is to be accelerated again in the next few weeks – for example, all over 40-year-olds should receive their second vaccination dose earlier than previously planned. If the situation in England improves quickly, changes could be made after two weeks.
Although the British vaccination campaign is well advanced and almost 57 percent of adults are already fully vaccinated, the Delta variant, which was first discovered in India, has caused the number of infections in the country to skyrocket again. After only very few new infections were counted for weeks, the seven-day incidence is now almost 68 again. The value reflects the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week.
According to scientific experts, postponing the further easing by four weeks could prevent thousands of new patients in hospitals. It is now a matter of giving the health service a few more weeks to distribute as many vaccinations as possible, said Johnson. With the Delta variant, the second dose is extremely important because the protection after just one vaccination dose should be significantly lower than with the previously known Corona variants. “I am confident that we won’t need more than four weeks.” In four weeks you will be in a much better situation than you are now.
In industries that are particularly affected by the further restrictions, there was fierce resistance. Singer-songwriter Frank Turner wrote on Twitter on Monday that the delay would mean the “final collapse” for some companies in the industry. The composer Andrew Lloyd Webber had previously argued against an extension of the corona measures, which mean that theaters only have half the capacity of their houses. “Come to the theater and arrest us,” said the 73-year-old in an interview with the Telegraph in the direction of his government.
The German federal government has again classified the United Kingdom as a virus variant area because of the spread of the delta variant. This means that only German citizens and a few other exceptional cases are allowed to enter, but have to go into quarantine for 14 days. The British government also continues to rely on strict quarantine rules for most countries: travelers from Germany have to be in quarantine for ten days – with the possibility of freeing themselves with a negative test on the fifth day at the earliest.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210614-99-983166 / 6