Delta variant '40% more transmissible': United Kingdom health minister

Joanna Estrada
June 7, 2021

Matt Hancock, in what will be viewed as the clearest indication yet that the target date for lifting all restrictions could slip, stressed that June 21 was a "not before" date and that it was only "pencilled in" as the next step out of lockdown.

The government has indicated that the wearing of face coverings and working from home measures could continue in the long-term, beyond that date.

"But crucially, after two doses of vaccine, we are confident that you get the same protection that you did with the old variant".

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the spread of the Indian variant has made the decisions behind the June 21 unlocking "more difficult" as he confirmed that it is 40 per cent more transmissible than the Kent variant.

"So ultimately it does make the calculation more hard for June 21 but it doesn't change our strategy which is we all need to go and get vaccinated and that way we will break this link between the number of cases to the number of hospitalisations".

"The prime minister and I and the team will be looking at all the data over this week".

"That is exactly what we are doing, so the road map was set up in order to be able to take these sort of changes into account".

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is estimated to be 40 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha variant that caused the last wave of infections in the UK, Britain's health minister said Sunday.

"And separately we have a piece of work on what the social distancing rules should be after that". The prime minister has been criticized for moving slowly to bar passengers from India.

On Saturday night Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, joined Mr Hancock's call for children to get tested before returning to school after the half-term break.

Mr Hancock confirmed on Sunday that under 30's will be invited to book their coronavirus vaccine jabs this week.

The vaccine push comes amid growing concern that the Indian variant is fuelling a surge in cases across Britain.

The UK has recorded 5,341 new Covid cases and four deaths, official figures show.

Last week, Public Health England, the UK's government health agency, said early evidence suggested there may be an increased risk of hospital admission from the Delta variant.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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