With just four weeks left to the much anticipated step four of the roadmap out of lockdown—or Freedom Day as it is now being called—many are fearing that the Indian variant might delay plans towards achieving liberty once again.
Delays to roadmap out of lockdown?
According to recent data, the Indian mutation of the coronavirus has officially overtaken the Kent strain in 23 English local authorities and has spread to about 40% of the country. Since May 8, figures from the Wellcome Sanger Institute have shown that the Indian variant has been since spotted in 127 English authorities, doubling in numbers in just one week.
Nationally, there have been 2,323 cases of the Indian strain—four times the amount recorded just ten days ago with the variant now making up at least one in five of all new infections.
In a recent statement by Boris Johnson addressing the public's concerns, the PM confirmed that, as of late, no changes have been made to the roadmap out of lockdown but that the government is sifting through emerging data to see if adjustments need to be made:
We are looking at the epidemiology the whole time as it comes in and, at the moment, partly because we have built up such a wall of defences with the vaccination programme, I don't see anything conclusive at the moment to say that we need to deviate from the road map.
But we've got to be cautious and we are keeping everything under very close observation. We'll know a lot more in a few days' time.
Taking two steps back
In addition, one government source told ITV News that some restrictions that were just recently loosened—including the rule of six and indoor hospitality—that marked the third phase of the government's roadmap might have to be reversed in order to contain the virus:
It is clear some social distancing will have to be retained, not everything we've set out for 21 June is likely to happen,' they said. But it is also possible some of the easing we've done today will have to be reversed.