Ministers are said to be considering local lockdown measures to curtail the spread of the Indian variant strain in England as an alternative to delaying the full nationwide lifting of coronavirus measures in June 21, with rumours of a new 4-teir system being introduced again leading to the closure of pubs & restaurants.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned last week that the transmission of COVID variant known as B.1.617.2 could mean “serious disruption” to the planned final exit from lockdown in England on June 21.
However, unconfirmed reports say that Mr Johnson is reluctant to keep the whole country in a longer period of restrictions and health officials are unwilling to redirect vaccines to younger people in affected areas, raising the likelihood of locally-concentrated controls.
After England’s initial coronavirus 2020 lockdown, the Prime minister sought a regional approach to restrictions, which did not work, leading to two further national lockdowns.
The PM wants a nationwide approach to the easing of restrictions this time, and restated that he hoped restrictions would end across the whole nation in June, despite the local surges in variant cases.
“At the moment I can see nothing that dissuades me from thinking we’ll be able to go ahead on Monday and June 21 everywhere,” he added, referring to further steps to ease lockdown.
Greater Manchester’s Labour Mayor Andy Burnham said in a radio interview that local lockdowns “can’t be the answer” and urged ministers to deliver more vaccines to areas where case rates are highest.
The Conservative leader of Bolton Council, David Greenhalgh, also appealed to the government not to enforce a local lockdown, saying people would simply travel to pubs and restaurants in neighbouring areas.