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Covid POLL: As Indian variant surges, should Boris put brakes on June 21 reopening? VOTE

On Friday at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said the Indian variant had created the “risk of disruption and delay” to the ending of the UK’s lockdown restrictions. During the briefing, Mr Johnson said scientists on the Government’s Sage advisory group had warned him of the “realistic possibility” that the Indian variant could be up to 50 percent more transmissible. Mr Johnson went on to say the variant first detected in India could see a surge in new infections that was “similar to, or larger than, previous peaks”.

The Prime Minister said the Government must be willing to “apply the brakes” to its lockdown lifting roadmap if cases began to surge.

On Saturday the British Medical Association urged the Government to practice the “utmost caution” when deciding to lift the lockdown restrictions.

The news has meant the Government’s plans to end the lockdown on 21 June could be in jeopardy.

Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap of restriction easing will still go ahead in England on Monday 17.

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Concerning the possibility of delaying the lockdown easing roadmap, the Prime Minister told the Downing Street press conference on Friday: “I do not believe that we need, on the present evidence, to delay our road map and we will proceed with our plan to move to step three in England from Monday.

“But I have to level with you that this new variant could pose a serious disruption to our progress and could make it more difficult to move to step four in June.”

The Indian variant of coronavirus has officially been called B.1.617.2.

It is one of four new strains of coronavirus which have been tagged as “a concern” by the World Health Organisation.

The new Indian variant is not thought to be resistant to current coronavirus vaccines.

However, scientists are issuing caution due to how quickly the new variant is reproducing.


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