Boris Johnson has “all but confirmed” that the June 21st “Freedom Day” will be delayed, saying that “we are seeing some worrying stuff in the data”. The PM is particularly concerned about an increase in hospitalisations – only too late have NHS hospitals been told to change the way they collect data on patients who test positive for Covid by differentiating between those who are actually sick with Covid symptoms and those who test positive but are actually ill with something else. The fact that there is unlikely to be much of a backlash to the extension of lockdown from the public appears also to have bolstered the Government’s decision to delay. The MailOnline has more.
The PM delivered a downbeat assessment of the dangers posed by the Indian “Delta” variant amid growing expectations he will announce a four-week delay to the unlocking roadmap at a press conference on Monday…
In a round of broadcast interviews at the G7 summit in Cornwall, Mr Johnson insisted no final decision will be taken until Monday.
“We are seeing some worrying stuff in the data, clearly. We are seeing the Delta variant causing an increase in cases, we are seeing an increase in hospitalisations,” he told Channel 5 News.
“The whole point of having an irreversible roadmap is to do it cautiously and that’s what we are going to do. I know people are impatient to hear more but you will be hearing the full picture on Monday.”
Ministers believe the backlash from Tory MPs and the public should be limited as long as the timetable does not slip beyond the school holidays.
A poll today suggested that just a third of Britons want the total lifting of restrictions to go ahead as originally laid out.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: A poll for Opinium published last night showed that a majority of Britons are now in favour of postponing the June 21st lifting of restrictions. Over half (54%) think the date should be postponed (up from 43% two weeks ago), with just 37% thinking it should go ahead as planned or even be moved forward (down from 44% two weeks ago). The majority of those in favour of postponing are among the older age groups with almost two thirds (65%) of over-65s in favour of postponing and only 28% in favour of going ahead as planned or earlier. Young people are more evenly split as 45% of 18-34 year olds think it should be postponed and 46% think it should go ahead as planned or earlier.
More specifically, people are most in favour of not removing the restrictions on:
- Wearing masks (62% vs 31%)
- Keeping nightclubs closed (60% vs 28%)
- Limiting large outdoor events (60% vs 31%)
- Having a maximum of 30 people can gather outdoors (57% vs 31%)
- Having a rule of six and table service in hospitality venues (50% vs 42%)
- Having up to 30 people at weddings (48% vs 41%)
- Having up to six people in people’s homes (47% vs 43%)
It’s official. We’ve become a nation of chin wobblers.