Paul Scully: ‘Cautious optimism’ for June 21 despite warnings from scientists


ondon minister Paul Scully has said he was “cautiously optimistic” that lockdown will fully end on June 21.

He stressed the vaccination programme was “going great guns” as Britain seeks to win a race to stop the spread of the Indian variant, leading to a major rise in hospitalisations.

Mr Scully struck a more upbeat note than many scientists urging the Government to delay the fourth stage of easing restrictions in three weeks’ time, which would see the end of social distancing.

Asked whether he expected the June 21 plan to go ahead, he told Times Radio: “I’m cautiously optimistic. We’ve got to get it absolutely right. People’s jobs and livelihoods depend on it, but we also are making sure that we are protecting lives.”

While Covid cases were rising, the small business minister added that hospitalisations “hopefully..won’t increase substantially”.

Crucially, the infection rate among Londoners aged 60 and over, who are largely vaccinated but without the jab would be more vulnerable to the disease, was only up slightly.

The data is evidence that the vaccines are working, although hospitalisations could rise if there is a surge in cases driven by the Indian variant, now also being called the Delta variant on the advice of the WHO.

Admissions tend to go up several weeks after increases in cases so MPs will be scrutinising data in coming days to see if there is any sign of a worrying increase in hospitalisations before making the crucial decision by June 14.



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