British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expanded the UK’s controversial COVID-19 lockdown by another four weeks Monday, citing concerns about the “Delta” COVID mutant that first emerged from India. The PM said the delay would allow British adults more time to get vaccinated.

“It’s sensible to wait just a little longer,” the PM said as he claimed that the government is concerned that the link between COVID and hospitalizations “hasn’t been severed.”

The UK’s remaining lockdown measures will now expire July 19, BoJo said. Previously, measures were supposed to expire on June 21, a day the government had deemed “Freedom Day”. Instead, the UK will need to wait another month, as BoJo said Monday, so that the country’s health-care infrastructure will be well prepared for any further acceleration in new cases, hospitalizations and  deaths.

Johnson acknowledged that it was a “difficult choice,” but that he wants to give the NHS “a few more crucial weeks” to get jabs in peoples’ arms. He said unlocking now could create the “very real risk that the virus outruns the vaccine” and thousands more could die.

There are exceptions to the extension: weddings and funerals can still go ahead with more than 30 guests provided social distancing remains in place. And pilot events like Euro 2020 and some theatrical performances will continue.

Ultimately, Britons will need to “learn to live with” COVID-19, Johnson said.

In response to the delay, General Secretary Paul Fleming called on the government to introduce grants for venues that can’t open at full capacity.

“They’ve had over a year to protect the industry which shut first and will open last. Not stepping up risks permanent damage to our economy, global standing and, most importantly, the art and entertainment audiences can access,” he said.

The UK recorded 7.7K new cases on Monday, along with three deaths within 28 days of a positive test. The 7-day average of new cases was up 46% compared with the prior seven days.

Readers can watch the full presser below:

Republished from with permission

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