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Coronavirus live news: Israel to end curbs as cases tumble


Dr Jenny Harries urged the public to be cautious to avoid another lockdown, warning that the new India variant has become the “dominant strain” in some parts of the country.

She told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “It’s looking good if people are continuing to observe all of the safety signals, so we should not stop doing what we’re doing, particularly in areas where we have that variant of concern, the B1617.2, in the north-west and around London.

“It’s really important that people continue to do hands, face, space and work from home, have their jabs and go for tests as well.

“The cases of the B1617.2 variant are rising, they have risen very steeply and much of the media have reported a 160% rise in cases over the week period but they seem to be slightly levelling at the moment. It’s still very early days.”

Dr Harries added: “We all need to be very cautious and I think we all don’t want to go back to the sort of lockdowns that we’ve had, it doesn’t matter whether you’re on Sage or out in the public, none of us want to return to that sort of restriction.”

From 21 June at the earliest, nightclubs are due to reopen and restrictions on large events such as festivals are to be lifted, as are restrictions on the number of people at weddings.

Dr Harries warned that caution should be taken as the new India variant is creating a “mixed picture” across the UK.

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She added: “If you look at areas such as Bolton and Bedford, for example, in the north-west particularly, it’s starting to become the dominant strain and has taken over from the Kent variant, which has been our predominant one over the winter months.

“But that’s not the case right across the country, actually if you’re in the south-west that’s still not the case.”

However, Prof Adam Finn, a member of the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, believed there may be an “adjustment” to the lifting of restrictions on 21 June.

Asked how likely it is that measures will be lifted on that date, he told Times Radio on Sunday: “We’re effectively in a race with the vaccine programme against the virus.

“We know that we’re letting the virus out by spreading it about now, we know that we’re progressing well with the vaccine programme, but I think there’s going to need to be an adjustment of some sort.”



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