The Prime Minister is expected to announce next Monday (14 June) – based on the latest review of the evidence – whether or not further easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions (Step 4) can take place in England on 21 June.

The Government’s decision will be based on four tests:

  1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  4. Its assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of COVID-19

The latest UK-wide data shows that cases of the Delta variant in England have risen by 29,892 since last week to 42,323. This includes 57 cases in Swindon since the variant was identified in April, although the current risk to the wider community is low.

New research suggests that the Delta variant is associated with an increased risk of household transmission compared to the Alpha variant (first identified in Kent).

With the Delta variant now accounting for the overwhelming majority of new cases in the UK, Public Health England comment that “it is encouraging to see that the increase in cases is not yet accompanied by a similarly large increase in hospitalisations.”

Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against the Delta variant. Once vaccinated, you are:

  • unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it
  • there is growing evidence that vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others

It’s up to all of us not to jeopardise the gains we’ve made. Please keep following the guidance and playing your part.

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