Carbis Bay. Boris Johnson’s British government is concretely considering postponing the fourth and final phase of the UK’s exit from lockdown restrictions for 4 weeks compared to the date initially mentioned on June 21. This was reported by unofficial sources quoted by the BBC, confirming that the Prime Minister – who is struggling these days with the G7 summit in Cornwall – appears willing to follow the recommendations of various experts, who are concerned about the rebound caused by the (formerly Indian) delta variable. Infections that rose in the country yesterday by more than 8,000 a day: a recovery whose impact on serious cases, hospitalizations and deaths is currently contained – but in part – by the accelerating impact of a vaccine campaign that reached the island with more than 70 million doses administered.
We are in the highest increase in infections since February, in the past 24 hours there are 8,125 cases, compared to 7,393 the day before. Deaths after 17, 28 days of positive testing, compared to seven yesterday, and last week cases increased by 90 percent, equivalent to 30,000 units. Fueled by the infective delta variant (formerly Indian) responsible for 90 percent of new infections with 60 percent higher transmissibility than their predecessors, the infection rebound increases with each new discovery. According to official estimates released today, daily infections are now increasing from 3% to 6% across the country with a growth rate not seen since cases began rising late last year. In light of the latest data, the British Medical Association (BMA) has launched an appeal to delay the easing of the recent restrictions still in place, due to the “rapid increase in cases”.
June 21 is the due date for easing restrictions, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has already left itself room for maneuver, noting on several occasions that the executive branch does not generally anticipate the need for delays but does not rule them out until the last time. The data check is set for Monday 14. But yesterday’s comments from the BMA sound like a serious wake-up call that the easing of the remaining restrictions should not pass until there is a “better understanding of the implications” of the increase in cases in the coming days. According to the media, the Prime Minister is preparing to postpone the fourth phase for two or four weeks, which includes reopening nightclubs and lifting restrictions on performances, weddings and other public events.
In the meantime, the vaccination campaign continues at a rapid pace capable of reducing the severity of the disease. So far, 7,0253,625 doses of the vaccine have been administered across the UK, accounting for more than half of the island’s population of more than 16 people. Of these, 41,088,485 first doses, with a 24-hour growth rate of 20,607 vaccines. The number of those who completed the vaccination course with the two administrations was 29,165,140, an increase of 308,038 compared to the previous day. But, says Public Health England, nearly two-thirds of people with delta have not received any vaccinations.
And even if the number of patients in hospital is still very low (1,058), the risk of a recovery on this front is also palpable: “If many people are infected, there will be an increase in hospitalization,” warned the vice president of the Association of Public Health Directors Jim McManus. Fear is set to grow in a country where the total number of infections so far has reached 45,50944, with 127,884 deaths.