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Boris Johnson To Host Downing Street Covid Press Conference

Boris Johnson will hold a Downing Street Covid press conference at 5pm on Friday, No.10 has announced.

The prime minister will be joined by chief medical adviser Chris Whitty.

It comes as new coronavirus cases involving the India variant, also known as B16172, have more than doubled in a week.

Data from Public Health England (PHE) showed a steep rise in cases from 520 last week to 1,313.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has said the situation was being monitored carefully and the Government “will not hesitate to take further action if necessary”.

The cases are spread across the country, with the majority in the North West, mainly in Bolton, Sefton in Merseyside, Blackburn in Lancashire, and London.

At present, there is no evidence the B16172 variant is resistant to current vaccines.

Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, said the public must help suppress the infection rate in the face of the variant if the planned lifting of restrictions in June is to stay on track.

The surge in cases has raised concerns the plan to largely lift England’s lockdown on June 21 could be derailed.

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme  the “big question” was how many of people who are getting the variant end up requiring hospitalisation.

“I think the step four is in doubt in June now, but we really need to see what impact it has on severe disease before we can really be certain,” he warned.

One response being considered is bringing forward the date for a second dose of vaccine for eligible groups to increase protection.

The government is also looking at ways to flex the rollout of vaccines in the worst hit areas such as the North West, including vaccinating everyone in multi-generational households from 18-year-olds to grandparents.

 

The cases are spread across the country, with the majority in the North West, mainly in Bolton, Sefton in Merseyside, Blackburn in Lancashire, and London.

At present, there is no evidence the B16172 variant is resistant to current vaccines.

Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, said the public must help suppress the infection rate in the face of the variant if the planned lifting of restrictions in June is to stay on track.

The surge in cases has raised concerns the plan to largely lift England’s lockdown on June 21 could be derailed.

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme  the “big question” was how many of people who are getting the variant end up requiring hospitalisation.

“I think the step four is in doubt in June now, but we really need to see what impact it has on severe disease before we can really be certain,” he warned.

One response being considered is bringing forward the date for a second dose of vaccine for eligible groups to increase protection.

The government is also looking at ways to flex the rollout of vaccines in the worst hit areas such as the North West, including vaccinating everyone in multi-generational households from 18-year-olds to grandparents.


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