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Covid: PM insists July unlocking will go ahead in England Covid: PM insists July unlocking will go ahead in England
(32 minutes later)
The prime minister says he is determined the remaining coronavirus restrictions in England will be lifted on 19 July, despite concern that a rise in deaths could force a change of plan.The prime minister says he is determined the remaining coronavirus restrictions in England will be lifted on 19 July, despite concern that a rise in deaths could force a change of plan.
Boris Johnson said the measures must remain in place until then because of the rapid spread of the Delta variant.Boris Johnson said the measures must remain in place until then because of the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
All adults will be able to book a jab by the end of the week, NHS chiefs say.All adults will be able to book a jab by the end of the week, NHS chiefs say.
But some Tory MPs fear a further delay to lockdown easing amid warnings of a return to hundreds of deaths a day.But some Tory MPs fear a further delay to lockdown easing amid warnings of a return to hundreds of deaths a day.
Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said the health service would "finish the job" of the vaccination programme to the "greatest extent possible" over the next four weeks.Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said the health service would "finish the job" of the vaccination programme to the "greatest extent possible" over the next four weeks.
He said he expected that all those over the age of 18 would be able to book "by the end of this week", and that the NHS aimed to offer second doses to two thirds of adults by 19 July.He said he expected that all those over the age of 18 would be able to book "by the end of this week", and that the NHS aimed to offer second doses to two thirds of adults by 19 July.
By the end of this week, all adults aged 18 or over will be eligible for the #NHSCOVIDVaccine, as announced by NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens at @NHSConfed this morning.When you get your text, don't delay in booking your jab. 💉 pic.twitter.com/hJbZGzXtM8By the end of this week, all adults aged 18 or over will be eligible for the #NHSCOVIDVaccine, as announced by NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens at @NHSConfed this morning.When you get your text, don't delay in booking your jab. 💉 pic.twitter.com/hJbZGzXtM8
On Monday, Mr Johnson announced a four-week delay to the planned easing of lockdown restrictions in England on 21 June, after scientific advisors warned of a "significant resurgence" in people needing hospital treatment if it went ahead.On Monday, Mr Johnson announced a four-week delay to the planned easing of lockdown restrictions in England on 21 June, after scientific advisors warned of a "significant resurgence" in people needing hospital treatment if it went ahead.
He said 19 July would be the "terminus date" for the remaining restrictions on social contact, and the delay would allow more people to get vaccinated.He said 19 July would be the "terminus date" for the remaining restrictions on social contact, and the delay would allow more people to get vaccinated.
A a few restrictions are being lifted on 21 June, including the limit on wedding guest numbers.A a few restrictions are being lifted on 21 June, including the limit on wedding guest numbers.
And 15 coronavirus pilot events will continue as planned, including some upcoming Euro 2020 games, Wimbledon and arts and music performances. Attendees will have to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test.And 15 coronavirus pilot events will continue as planned, including some upcoming Euro 2020 games, Wimbledon and arts and music performances. Attendees will have to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test.
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The announcement that the vaccine rollout would be accelerated came as Prof Graham Medley, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the numbers of people dying from coronavirus would rise.The announcement that the vaccine rollout would be accelerated came as Prof Graham Medley, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the numbers of people dying from coronavirus would rise.
"The question is really as to what level they will rise," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme."The question is really as to what level they will rise," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"It is possible we could end up with a situation whereby the numbers of people going to hospital really mean that the government have to take some kind of action that they don't want to.""It is possible we could end up with a situation whereby the numbers of people going to hospital really mean that the government have to take some kind of action that they don't want to."
But he added that the government has had to do this throughout the pandemic.But he added that the government has had to do this throughout the pandemic.
What are the rules after 21 June?What are the rules after 21 June?
What will delaying the full unlock achieve?What will delaying the full unlock achieve?
How many people can go to a wedding and reception?How many people can go to a wedding and reception?
Prof Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said the delay was "extremely welcome" and he hoped it would be "enough".Prof Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said the delay was "extremely welcome" and he hoped it would be "enough".
He told BBC Breakfast there was "very promising evidence" that the vaccination rollout meant there were fewer serious cases of coronavirus, and that getting more people vaccinated would allow England to "get ahead of this current wave".He told BBC Breakfast there was "very promising evidence" that the vaccination rollout meant there were fewer serious cases of coronavirus, and that getting more people vaccinated would allow England to "get ahead of this current wave".
Michael Gove says that increased level vaccination should allow further relaxation of restrictions on July 19Michael Gove says that increased level vaccination should allow further relaxation of restrictions on July 19
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said he shared the prime minister's confidence about the 19 July end date.Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said he shared the prime minister's confidence about the 19 July end date.
"One can never predict the future with perfect confidence," he told BBC Breakfast."One can never predict the future with perfect confidence," he told BBC Breakfast.
"But insofar as we can be confident about anything in this complex world, we can be confident that the increased level of vaccination that we will have by 19 July should allow us to further relax restrictions.""But insofar as we can be confident about anything in this complex world, we can be confident that the increased level of vaccination that we will have by 19 July should allow us to further relax restrictions."
However, Mark Harper, chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, said "we could have moved ahead perfectly safely" without the delay.However, Mark Harper, chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, said "we could have moved ahead perfectly safely" without the delay.
He told LBC radio that the prime minister's comments about 19 July were "exactly the same words as he was using about 21 June".He told LBC radio that the prime minister's comments about 19 July were "exactly the same words as he was using about 21 June".
"So some of us, I'm afraid, are a bit worried that we're not going to actually move forward on 19 July," he said."So some of us, I'm afraid, are a bit worried that we're not going to actually move forward on 19 July," he said.
The confidence among ministers that all remaining restrictions will lift on 19 July is understandable given the extent of the vaccine rollout.The confidence among ministers that all remaining restrictions will lift on 19 July is understandable given the extent of the vaccine rollout.
But behind the scenes, the one fear is what to do if cases are still rising at that point.But behind the scenes, the one fear is what to do if cases are still rising at that point.
Infections are currently climbing sharply and modellers believe this could lead to more than 1,000 hospital admissions a day later in the summer.Infections are currently climbing sharply and modellers believe this could lead to more than 1,000 hospital admissions a day later in the summer.
That is equivalent to what the NHS would face for all types of respiratory illness in the middle of a bad winter.That is equivalent to what the NHS would face for all types of respiratory illness in the middle of a bad winter.
The hope is that in a couple of weeks infection levels will have started to flatten, and maybe even fall, as the virus hits the wall of immunity built up by the vaccination programme.The hope is that in a couple of weeks infection levels will have started to flatten, and maybe even fall, as the virus hits the wall of immunity built up by the vaccination programme.
But there are no guarantees of that.But there are no guarantees of that.
Knowing the peak of this wave is still to come will make the final decision harder if hospitalisations climb as expected.Knowing the peak of this wave is still to come will make the final decision harder if hospitalisations climb as expected.
But the fact remains Covid is always going to present a risk. Exactly how much is hard to quantify at this stage, although it will of course be much much lower than it was before.But the fact remains Covid is always going to present a risk. Exactly how much is hard to quantify at this stage, although it will of course be much much lower than it was before.
In the end it will come down to balancing that extra risk against the need to get back our old way of life and reducing the harms caused by our response to Covid.In the end it will come down to balancing that extra risk against the need to get back our old way of life and reducing the harms caused by our response to Covid.
The extension of restrictions will be put to a Commons vote, which could trigger a sizeable Conservative backbench rebellion, with a debate expected on Wednesday.The extension of restrictions will be put to a Commons vote, which could trigger a sizeable Conservative backbench rebellion, with a debate expected on Wednesday.
New analysis by Public Health England showed two doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine were highly effective at preventing hospital admissions from the Delta variant.New analysis by Public Health England showed two doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine were highly effective at preventing hospital admissions from the Delta variant.
PHE said the effectiveness was comparable to against the Alpha variant which was previously dominant in the UK.PHE said the effectiveness was comparable to against the Alpha variant which was previously dominant in the UK.
Mr Johnson said the gap between doses for over-40s in England would be reduced from 12 to eight weeks.Mr Johnson said the gap between doses for over-40s in England would be reduced from 12 to eight weeks.
And the target to offer all adults a first dose will be brought forward to 19 July.And the target to offer all adults a first dose will be brought forward to 19 July.
Hospitality, wedding and night-time entertainment businesses are among those to have criticised the delay.Hospitality, wedding and night-time entertainment businesses are among those to have criticised the delay.
Reopening delay a 'hammer blow for live events'Reopening delay a 'hammer blow for live events'
Businesses react to easing delayBusinesses react to easing delay
The government has said it will not extend the furlough scheme or other financial support further, despite the delay to the unlocking roadmap.The government has said it will not extend the furlough scheme or other financial support further, despite the delay to the unlocking roadmap.
Downing Street said local authorities have £1bn of unspent money to support businesses, which could be used to pay business rates or contribute to furlough payments.Downing Street said local authorities have £1bn of unspent money to support businesses, which could be used to pay business rates or contribute to furlough payments.
Under the furlough scheme, the government covers up to 80% of an employee's salary for the hours they cannot work because of the pandemic.Under the furlough scheme, the government covers up to 80% of an employee's salary for the hours they cannot work because of the pandemic.
The scheme is due to run until the end of September but employers will have to help cover the cost from July.The scheme is due to run until the end of September but employers will have to help cover the cost from July.
LOOK-UP TOOL: How many cases in your area?LOOK-UP TOOL: How many cases in your area?
SOCIAL DISTANCING: How can I meet my friend safely?SOCIAL DISTANCING: How can I meet my friend safely?
FACE MASKS: When do I need to wear one?FACE MASKS: When do I need to wear one?
Plans for easing coronavirus restrictions differ between the four UK nations.Plans for easing coronavirus restrictions differ between the four UK nations.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to announce later whether all areas will move to Level Zero Covid restrictions on 28 June.Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to announce later whether all areas will move to Level Zero Covid restrictions on 28 June.
That would mean bigger groups could gather in cafes, pubs and restaurants, although they would still have to observe social distancing.That would mean bigger groups could gather in cafes, pubs and restaurants, although they would still have to observe social distancing.
Limits on indoor gatherings in Northern Ireland are scheduled to be relaxed on 21 June and the rules in Wales will be reviewed on 25 June.Limits on indoor gatherings in Northern Ireland are scheduled to be relaxed on 21 June and the rules in Wales will be reviewed on 25 June.
HOW TO WIN AN ARGUMENT: Bella and Greg take inspiration from RuPaul's Drag RaceHOW TO WIN AN ARGUMENT: Bella and Greg take inspiration from RuPaul's Drag Race
"IF I STAY STILL TOO LONG, THAT'S WHEN I START TO HURT": What makes Sporty Spice mentally and physically strong?"IF I STAY STILL TOO LONG, THAT'S WHEN I START TO HURT": What makes Sporty Spice mentally and physically strong?
Have you or your business been affected by the delay to restrictions easing in England? Do you have questions you'd like answering? Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways:
WhatsApp: +44 7756 165803
Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay
Please read our terms & conditions and privacy policy