The Government is considering extending lockdown beyond June 21st to protect those who refuse the vaccine from the Indian Covid variant. While one minister warned against “stigmatising” those who don’t take the vaccine, another told Politico: “The risk is that a small number of [unvaccinated] idiots ruin it for everyone else.” The MailOnline has more.
Tensions are rising within Government as the more transmissible [Indian] strain threatens to derail the roadmap, which should see all legal restrictions lifted from next month.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng insisted this morning he is still “confident” that the schedule can be kept despite anxiety about surging cases in “hotspots”.
However, he warned against “stigmatising” those who do not want to get jabs…
Meanwhile, there is swirling speculation that local curbs might be needed in England to keep the wider easing on track – with Scotland already targeting restrictions on specific areas.
The wrangling is escalating as Boris Johnson urged families to adopt a “heavy dose of caution” with the ban on indoor socialising and hugs finally ending today.
In a guarded statement before revellers packed into pubs to celebrate the lifting of restrictions, the Prime Minister said the emergence of the Indian strain of coronavirus meant the restored freedoms should be exercised carefully.
Discussions around extending lockdown beyond June 21st are not without their parliamentary critics – but will there be enough?
Sir Graham Brady, a senior Tory MP, urged the Prime Minister not to “panic” over the new variant, which is still rare in the U.K..
And his colleague Iain Duncan Smith said it was “bonkers” to even consider further delays to reopening when evidence suggested existing vaccines worked against the Indian strain…
Former Tory leader Sir Iain said: “People are getting in a panic about this new variant, when we should be celebrating the fact that the vaccines work – it is bonkers.
“Ministers have to avoid the Corporal Jones mentality, tell the scientists to get back to their labs and get on with giving people back their freedom.”
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: A member of SAGE says that the ban on indoor gatherings should never have been lifted and might, at some stage, need to be reimposed.