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FREEDOM DELAY: Delay to lifting restrictions confirmed


On Monday evening, the government confirmed that the planned lifting of restrictions on June 21 would now be delayed due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

Boris Johnson set a new “terminus date” of July 19 for the end of England’s coronavirus restrictions after being warned that easing restrictions as planned could lead to thousands of deaths.

The Prime Minister ordered a delay of up to a month to the final phase of his road map to end the lockdown due to concerns over the rapidly spreading Delta variant first identified in India.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said it was “regrettable” that ministers had to order a delay of up to a month to the final phase of the road map.

Asked if restrictions would ease on July 19 or whether there could be another delay, Mr Gove told Sky News: “That will be the terminus date.

“What we said is that we won’t lift those restrictions before June 21, in the road map it says not before, and the whole point about the road map was to build in an element of flexibility and caution.

“It is regrettable that we do have this pause before moving to Step 4, but what we want to do is to make sure that when we do make that move, that we don’t go back.

“Because the worst thing for business, worst thing for any of us, would be to open up again and then to very quickly find that we have to reimpose restrictions.”

Professor Graham Medley, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) advising the Government, warned that it is still possible that the nation could return to seeing hundreds of deaths a day as coronavirus infections rise.

“Although the numbers of deaths are low at the moment, everyone expects that they will rise. The question is really as to what level they will rise,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“And at the moment there is a lot of uncertainty in what’s going to happen over the next couple of months.”

Video from PA.

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