As predicted by health experts following the loosening of restrictions last week, cases have gone up by 8.7%—a first in weeks of a steady decline.
The new Indian variant
Since the much anticipated reopening of outdoor service for pubs and restaurants, cases have seen a slight upsurge, which is increasingly worrying medics in light of a new variant currently ravaging India with more than 250,000 cases per day.
On Sunday, 18 April, 1,882 new coronavirus cases had been reported in the UK—a 152 case jump from the Sunday prior. The death toll went from seven to 10 within that same time frame. As it currently stands, a total of 77 people have been infected with the Indian strain as of reports published on 15 April.
This news comes as the government confirmed that more than 9.9 million people in the UK have received both doses of one of the coronavirus vaccines while 33 million have received at least one dose. However, figures show that the rollout of vaccines have dramatically slowed down compared to how well it was performing at its height in mid-March.
Backlash from Scotland's Nicole Sturgeon
At the moment, an average of 91,000 people are getting their first dose of immunity each day, paling in comparison to the 500,000 per day in the month of March. As the variant is showing to be much more contagious than previous ones, Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is concerned with further plans to ease restrictions. In a recent interview, Sturgeon criticised PM Boris Johnson's plan to use a 'traffic light' system for travel in the coming weeks:
I think the thing we have got to recognise about COVID is that it is mutating and we are seeing new variants appear in different parts of the world. We don't know where the variants of real concern are going to come from.
Which is why an approach to travel that tries to categorise risk, with some countries categorised as red-list countries and other countries deemed to be safer, I think poses a risk. Because none of us know right now where the next variant that might be really problematic is going to occur.