Indian variant could threaten easing of restrictions in June

Boris Johnson to hold 5pm press conference amid calls for

Despite concerns about the Indian variant, the PM said he "can see nothing that dissuades me from thinking we'll be able to go ahead on Monday and indeed on 21 June everywhere" in terms of easing coronavirus restrictions in England.

The variant B.1.617.2 is one of three subtypes of the variant first detected in India and was designated as a VOC by PHE last week after over 500 cases were found in parts of England.

Measures could also include bringing forward second vaccines for some people in the worst affected areas. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said he believes it will become the dominant variant in the UK.

"There is no evidence of increased cases translating into unmanageable pressure on NHS".

Surge testing is already taking place in 15 areas across England.

'There were 102 Covid cases in the last seven days, which is a rate of 32.1 per 100,000 population.

"So this is about travel within the country, not worldwide travel".

"We will look at testing the wider organisation that's involved and depending on the level of variants found we will look at potential community surge testing".

Steve Baker, the deputy chair of the Covid Recovery Group of Tory backbenchers, said: "Why on Earth would we lock down when the vaccines continue to break the link between cases and hospitalisations and deaths?"

"Those people have been informed and we are working with leader of the organisation involved to make sure that anybody who may have been put at risk is aware".

Wellingborough, Corby and South Northamptonshire all have more than double the national average cases per 1,000 people just days before restrictions are further relaxed under stage three of the government's roadmap.

"The second dose will be 8 weeks after the first dose".

"We will accelerate remaining second doses to over 50s".

Now the programme is delivering about 30,000-35,000 a week with more than 380,00 having had their first jab.

"Hopefully if we all work together it will be positive because we can bare down on this infection, on this variant", Mr Zahawi told ITV News, "but we take nothing off the table".



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