Lockdown lifting: 4 key stats to watch for as June 21 looms
UK 'needs a balanced reopening' says Ian Duncan Smith
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June 21 should see remaining limits on social contact and mobility removed. The Government announced its plan earlier this year for delivery in five stages from March 8. But rising infections have thrown the status of its proposed final hurdle into doubt.
Will the Government end lockdown on June 21?
The Government has so far resisted challenges to its June 21 unlocking, despite calls for a suspension.
Over the last week, Covid infections have spiked from roughly 2,000 to more than 8,000 today despite vaccine uptake.
Ministers have another week to study numbers until June 14 and focus on four specific datasets.
The UK’s vaccine programme has so far defied expectations to cover 69,251,163 people – more than 50 percent of the British population – with at least a single dose.
Of them, 28,540,844 people have both, giving them protection from 90 percent or more of infections.
These figures will need to continue to surge towards the herd immunity threshold – at least 70 percent of the population or more.
These figures must also sustain in the environment created by the Delta Covid variant.
A surge in hospitalisations would put pressure on the NHS, especially frontline workers.
The Government wants to avoid this where possible, as this would ultimately result in more deaths.
Currently, the number sits at around 1,000, far below the peak of 32,000 just a few months ago in February.
But the latest numbers have risen by roughly five percent, marking a potentially worrying trend.
Hospitalisation numbers have risen sharpest in Delta variant hotspots such as Lancashire, while they remain low elsewhere in England.
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Infection rates (the number of cases per 100,000 people) rank among the Government’s most vital considerations.
These rates demonstrate how a virus is thriving in a given area, and data shows it is.
The delta variant has grown exponentially in its chosen hotspots recently.
Last week, Manchester’s rate hovered around 100 per 100,000, but this has since risen to 204.
The ONS warned UK infections had surged by 60 percent during the same week, and reopening England any further could pump these numbers up.
Chances of becoming seriously ill
The fourth factor in the Government’s occasion was initially the appearance of a “variant of concern”.
Since the Delta variant has become the dominant Covid strain, chances of severe infection have replaced it.
Vaccination has shown significant success in both preventing hospitalisations and severe illness.
But maximum immunity won’t come after two doses, which a minority of vaccine recipients currently have.
As such, the Government has expanded the programme to include new populations, with under-30s able to book their jab from yesterday.
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