FREEDOM DAY: Should the end of lockdown be delayed?
Plans for lockdown to ease on the 21st of June, on what has been called freedom day, are being met with some resistance.
Government advisor Professor Stephen Reicher, who is a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours thinks that ending restrictions on the planned date would fly in the face of the governments own advice, as the R number for the UK has increased.
On the other side of the argument, Conservative backbencher Steve Baker has urged the government to stick to the roadmap and lift the remaining Covid restrictions on 21 June, saying that this is the last chance for some industries, and that prolonging restrictions could have an impact on people's mental health.
Dr George Rae, a GP in North Tyneside and chair of the North East British Medical Association has more.
It is believed that delaying lockdown by up to four weeks would mean more time to analyse whether or not transmission of the Delta variant leads to an increase in hospital admissions. Pushing back the so called "freedom" day would also allow for more people to receive their first dose of the vaccine, and more crucially their second dose.
Locally, Sunderland is now one of the worst affected areas in the UK following what was a steady decline in cases. In North Tyneside, surge testing that was underway identified 79 cases of the Delta variant. And in Gateshead, director of public health Alice Wiseman said around 70% of new cases are being detected in under 30s, and that she would support a delay to lockdown easing if case numbers continue to rise, to give the vaccination programme a chance offer some protection for younger age groups.
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