It would be foolish to relax completely on June 21, according to a behavior specialist.
An expert has warned that rushing a full reopening in England later this month would be “foolish” and a “huge danger,” amid news that a two-week delay to the scheduled lifting of restrictions is being discussed.
Professor Stephen Reicher believes there is currently enough information to conclude that one of the government’s four major conditions for its road map out of lockdown has not been met as a result of the emergence of the Indian strain.
According to multiple sources, plans to relax all restrictions on June 21 may be dialed down, with social isolation and the wearing of facial covers expected to continue amid fears that the variety that originated in India, now known as Delta, is fueling an outbreak.
It’s about facts, not dates, and if you make it too much about dates, you’ll box yourself in, which I believe the government has done.
According to official numbers, the UK had its highest number of new confirmed coronavirus infections — 6,238 – since late March on Friday.
The number of lab-confirmed cases was somewhat lower on Saturday, at 5,765.
Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the number of people infected with the virus in England has climbed by nearly three-quarters in a week, bringing the total to its highest level since mid-April, with the R value ranging from 1 to 1.2.
Prof Reicher, who advises the government as a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (Spi-B), said the criteria for current risk assessments not being fundamentally affected by new varieties of concern are “not upheld.”
“I think under the Government’s own criteria, it’s pretty evident that proceeding on the data that we have at the moment would be foolish,” he told the PA news agency. The stakes would be extremely high.
“Of course, there is a balance of hazards, but I believe that going farther in opening up would be a huge risk.”
“Again, I make the point that it is about data, not dates, and if,” he continued. (This is a brief piece.)