Prime Minister admits Indian variant could make it ‘more difficult’ to proceed to step four of road map out of lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told a Downing Street press conference that the rise in Covid cases of the Indian variant could halt the Government’s road map out of lockdown.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 6:30 pm

The Downing Street press conference comes after UK cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus more than doubled in the past week to 1,313 cases up from 520 the previous week.

The Indian variant is one of four strains designated as “of concern” by UK authorities, as well as those which emerged from Kent, South Africa and Brazil.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted that the newest variant could put the road map out of lockdown under threat.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted that step four of the road map out of lockdown is under threat. Photo: PA.

What did Boris Johnson say during Friday’s press conference?

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*Step four of the road map out of lockdown under threat

Step four of the Government’s road map out of lockdown would see all legal limits on social contact removed and the reopening of larger scale events.

However the Prime Minister admitted that the Indian variant could make it “more difficult” for England to move to the final stage of the road map, but not “impossible”.

Mr Johnson said: “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.

“This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible that we will be able to go ahead with step four.

*Vaccination programme accelerated for over 50s

During the press conference, the Prime Minister revealed that there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccines are any less effective against the Indian variant – with the programme being accelerated for those over 50.

The Government aims to ensure that people aged 50 and over receive their second jab eight weeks after their first, rather than 12.

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