United Kingdom minister says Delta variant 40 percent more transmissible

  • United Kingdom minister says Delta variant 40 percent more transmissible

United Kingdom minister says Delta variant 40 percent more transmissible

"But crucially, after two doses of vaccine, we are confident that you get the same protection that you did with the old variant".

The government has indicated that the wearing of face coverings and working from home measures could continue in the long-term, beyond that date.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the spread of the Indian variant has made the decisions behind the June 21 unlocking "more difficult" as he confirmed that it is 40 per cent more transmissible than the Kent variant.

Asked if there could be a delay to the June 21 timeline for an end to all lockdown restrictions in the country, Hancock said the government is "absolutely open" to a delay if it needs to happen and if all the requisite tests set as part of the roadmap are not fully met. "We'll look at the data for another week and then make a judgement", he told the BBC on Sunday, stressing that the government was "absolutely open" to delaying the lifting of restrictions.

Britain's health secretary on Sunday said a coronavirus variant first detected in India was roughly 40 percent more transmissible than the so-called United Kingdom strain blamed for a severe COVID-19 outbreak over the winter.

"And separately we have a piece of work on what the social distancing rules should be after that".

Mr Hancock told Sky News' Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme that vaccines had "severed but not broken" the link between a rise in cases and an increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital.

The so-called Delta variant, which appears to spread more rapidly than previous United Kingdom variants, is now the dominant COVID strain in Britain, fueling a surge in cases.

Former prime minister and Labour leader Tony Blair has argued that those who have been given both shots should be afforded extra freedoms as an incentive for people to take up the inoculation offer.

On Saturday night Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, joined Mr Hancock's call for children to get tested before returning to school after the half-term break.

On Friday the United Kingdom recorded its highest number of new confirmed coronavirus cases - 6,238 - since late March, according to official figures, although Saturday's number was down slightly at 5,765 lab-confirmed cases.

People under 30 will be invited to book their coronavirus vaccine appointment from this week in the UK.