Boris Johnson is holding talks with his Cabinet today amid reports that there is “close to nil” chance that lockdown will end on June 21st because of fears about the Indian Covid variant. The MailOnline has the story.
Ministers are preparing emergency plans that could see local restrictions used to combat hotspots, or even the next stage of the roadmap delayed.
In an echo of the tiers system brought in last summer, people in the worst-hit areas could be told to stay at home and restaurants and shops forced to close – with stricken businesses handed more grants to keep them afloat.
There are also growing doubts about whether lockdown can be lifted across England on June 21st. Just a week ago Mr Johnson was holding out the prospect of a broad lifting of legal constraints and social distancing, but it now appears that a review of the rules is unlikely to report this month.
One Government source told ITV News that some of the loosening that took effect this week – including “Rule of Six” socialising indoors and in bars and restaurants – might have to be rolled back.
“It is clear some social distancing will have to be retained, not everything we’ve set out for June 21st is likely to happen,” they said.
“But it is also possible some of the easing we’ve done today will have to be reversed.”…
Tory ministers and MPs have been warning the PM against changing course, complaining that curbs must not be extended to protect people who are refusing vaccines – which are believed to be effective against the Indian variant.
One Cabinet minister warned that missing the June 21st milestone could become Mr Johnson’s “Theresa May moment” – a reference to her failed Brexit deadline.
“This freedom date is burned on people’s brains in the same way as her date for leaving the E.U.,” the source said. “When she missed it, she was finished.”
The source said Number 10 had “overreacted to panicked warnings from the usual suspects” in parts of the health establishment.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Boris has said there is not yet “conclusive” evidence that the roadmap will need to be altered and things will be clearer in “days”. MailOnline has more.