SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 24 June 2021, Thursday |

UK health minister says too early to decide on lifting COVID restrictions on June 21

It was too early to say whether the UK government would implement its plan to fully lift COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in England on June 21, British health minister Matt Hancock said on Sunday.

Hancock said the delta variant of COVID-19 first detected in India over the last month has left significant impact in England, and it is the dominant strain, according to official estimates.

Health minister pointed to a renewed spike in COVID-19 cases but said he had been reassured by a broadly flat rate of hospitalizations and deaths as officials consider plans to end the lockdown.

“It’s too early to make a final decision on that,” Hancock told Sky News.

“The prime minister and I and the team will be looking at all the data over this week. We’ve said that we’ll give people enough time ahead of the June 21 date.

“We are not saying ‘No’ to June 21 at this point,” he added.

Hancock affirmed the importance of receiving both doses of COVID-19 vaccines as the data showed this could protect effectively against the delta variant.

Britain’s overall death toll from the pandemic stands at 127,836 and is the sixth-highest in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data.