WHY THE LOCKDOWN HAS BEEN EXTENDED
It’s official, the lockdown has been extended another 4 weeks until July 19th. You may find yourself wondering after the recent announcement by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson why this is the case.
Figures from Public Health England have indicated that cases of the Delta variant from India have increased 240% over the previous week, with the transmission rate being the highest it has been since January. The government is concerned about the steep rise in confirmed cases over the last few weeks.
The Delta variant is believed to be roughly 60% more infectious than previous variants and twice as likely to result in hospitalisation.
As a result, there is concern that the virus could outpace the Governments vaccination program. Boris Johnson has stated the delay in “Freedom Day” will give the NHS sufficient time to roll out the vaccines to as many people as possible.
What about the vaccines?
According to the latest data, approximately 42 million people have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and approximately 30 million have received their second dose.
A Public Health England paper published in late May this year reported that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were only 33% effective against the Delta variant of the virus after only one dose. After a second dose however, figures show that the Pfizer vaccine rises to 96% effectiveness and the AstraZeneca to 92%.
The government has set a target to give a first vaccine dose to every adult by July 19th and to have given two doses to two thirds of the adult population, including everyone over 50, all the vulnerable, all front-line care workers, and everyone over 40 who received their first does by mid-May. Giving the NHS sufficient time to achieve this goal is the main reason why the lockdown has been extended.
What are the current rules?
While England remains in stage 3 of the easing of the lockdown restrictions, there have been some changes to the rules:
- The number of guests at weddings will no longer be limited to 30, although venues must undertake risk assessments to ensure social distancing rules can still be enforced
- Care home residents will no longer have to self-isolate after leaving their care homes and can nominate an essential caregiver who can visit them even if they are isolating
- Children can go on overnight trips with groups of up to 30
- The large events pilot will continue
There are however some restrictions still in place:
- Outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 30 people unless covered by a legal exemption
- Indoor gatherings are still limited to 6 people from any number of households or a group of any size from a maximum of two different households.
- Face masks must still be worn in any indoor settings and on public transport
- Nightclubs remain closed
- Social distancing remains in place
- Pubs and restaurants can operate by table service only
Will there be another extension to the lockdown?
There is no guarantee there will not be another extension to the lockdown. The Prime Minister has said he is “pretty confident” that July 19th will be the final date for the remaining restrictions, but this remains to be seen.
There will be a review of the figures on June 28th to see if restrictions may by lifted earlier. A spokesman for the Prime Minister said that if the data is “much better than expected”, restrictions could be eased as early as July 5th. The spokesman however added that this outcome is “unlikely”.
What we can do to help
It is important that we all continue to follow the government’s advice to minimise transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Orpian can provide certified medical type IIR face masks to meet any requirements. You can guy as few as 5 masks in a bag to get you through the week or in large cartons of 900 per box for companies and other large organisations. Visit us here if you would like to make a commercial enquiry.
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