UK’s June 21 reopening in doubt amid new COVID spread

Brenda Watkins
June 8, 2021

The move brings the United Kingdom a step closer to meeting the target to offer all adults a vaccine by the end of July. However, the latest figures suggest that is now at around 16 per 100 thousand.

Over-25s in England are to be offered a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine six months after the first jab was administered in the United Kingdom - as ministers continue to weigh up whether remaining lockdown restrictions will be lifted on June 21.

The country has seen an uptick in cases in recent weeks, and officials say the current wave is impacting people 20 to 39 years of age.

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.

"The jabs are working, we have to keep coming forward to get them and that includes vitally that second jab which we know gives better protection against the Delta variant", the Health Secretary said. "We all need to go and get vaccinated and that way we will break this link between the number of cases and the number of hospitalisations", he added.

Hancock acknowledged that the Delta variant "does make the calculation more hard for June 21". One of the four critical tests set by the government for a reopening is that the assessment of the risk from the deadly virus is not fundamentally changed by new VOC.

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However, it comes after a series of mysterious explosions that began in 2019 targeting ships in the Gulf of Oman. Last year, a missile mistakenly struck a naval vessel also near the port of Jask during a training exercise.

Matt Hancock told the House of Commons that the majority of people in hospital "appear to be those who haven't had the vaccine at all".

Mr Hancock told MPs: "No one wants our freedoms to be restricted a single day longer than is necessary. And separately we have a piece of work on what the social distancing rules should be after that", he said.

Anyone in the age groups now eligible for a vaccine is asked to book their jab once they receive the text message alert, with Global Positioning System also set to urge the newly eligible to come forward, over the coming days.

The NHS has confirmed that adults aged 25-29 will begin to be offered their Covid-19 jabs from tomorrow (Tuesday), exactly six months after Coventry grandmother Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to be vaccinated against the virus.

Last month, the government recommended that people aged 50 and over and the clinically vulnerable have their second doses brought forward to counter the spread of the Delta variant.

Almost three-quarters of local areas of the United Kingdom (283 out of 380) recorded a week-on-week rise in Covid-19 case rates for the seven days to June 2, the highest proportion since January 6.

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