24. Weekly Newsletter
English Lockdown Extended
On Monday, 14th June, PM Johnson confirmed that the anticipated 21st June ‘almost’ full re-opening of England would be delayed by up to 4 weeks in order to manage the rapid rise in the COVID Indian variant. A major reason for this delay was due to the fresh Government target of offering all UK adults a vaccine by the 19th of July and fully vaccinating two-thirds of the country. Pressure had been mounting on the PM to pushback the reopening following six continuous days of COVID cases being above 7,000 for the first time in months.
Despite the delays in the return to normality, the 21st of June will now allow for weddings to have an unlimited number of attendees. However, nightclubs will remain shut whilst pubs, racecourses, football crowds and cinemas will continue to face capacity restrictions at an estimated £3bn cost to sales. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own localised restrictions which follow differing timescales.
Almost 4.6m people in the UK have now tested positive for COVID but the daily rise in cases has remained consistently low for most of the year- however, cases are rising in 90% of English wards. A total of near 128,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus and the daily increase now appears to be led by the unvaccinated. Nationally, 41.7m people (79% of adults) have received their first vaccine and approximately 30m of these patients have also received their second dose. This brings the total number of inoculations carried out, by the private sector and National Health Service, to around 71.7 million.
The Indian variant, now also known as the Delta variant, may presently have an R-number (score of 1.0 would equal no change in cases) as high as 1.4 which would be the highest of the year. Furthermore, this variant is believed to be 64% more transmissible and vaccines are less effective than on the previous dominant Alpha variant according to Public Health England.
G-7 in Cornwall
Following the conclusion of the successful G-7 summit in St Ives, Cornwall, the PM took the opportunity to thank “everybody involved” in the three day event. At its peak there were some 6,500 police in attendance and Britain’s latest aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, patrolled off the coast. A collection of some of the summits photos can be found here which helped symbolise a new era of unity between seven of the world’s most influential nations. Additionally, a rare public appearance of three generations of the UK’s royal family greeted the world leaders and The Prince of Wales discussed the urgency required to tackle the important issue of climate change.
Environmental challenges maintained an influential position during this year’s G-7 summit and all nations agreed to tough measures on burning coal. Alongside this, they agreed to halve collective emissions and will be working on protecting/conserving a minimum of 30% of land/oceans by 2030. Other agreements include the commitment to one billion COVID vaccines being donated to other countries throughout 2021 and an alternative to the belt and road initiative from China.