W.When the Secretary of Health booked his summer vacation in Cornwall, many Brits believed that one could look forward to a vacation trip. But statements by the government soon faded the anticipation for the long-awaited change. Transportation Secretary Grant Shaps said people shouldn’t be booking holidays right now – “neither at home, not outside.”
At a press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for an understanding that the government simply cannot make any forecasts at the moment. He joined the Minister of Health on Thursday. Matt Hancock has said that it is simply “too early” to plan any summer. He himself booked his vacation last year when things looked different.
No more hopes with deadlines
More and more British people are asking. “What is the point of a world-class vaccination program if it does not lead to an easing of restrictions?” A former foreign minister was asked in the Daily Telegraph. One in four adults have now been vaccinated with the first dose, but the government is announcing stricter measures every day. On Thursday, all parents with a garden or balcony were asked to keep their kids off the playground. In previous days, the government had increased the travel ban, with new quarantine rules and strict threats of punishment. Johnson summed it up in a great sentence: “Going on vacation is illegal.”
The government has learned from bad experiences and has moved on not raising hopes for deadlines. Questions about when the strict travel restrictions will be lifted or when schools will reopen are answered with empty words that this “depends on the state of the data”. Ministers are now allowed to suffice with the phrase that often upsets politicians: “I don’t know.” The only date the British can look forward to is February 22nd. Johnson wants to finish evaluating his first vaccination results and provide a timeline for a return to normal.
Preparedness for vaccination is “much higher” than expected
It could be more realistic than many would like. Hancock said Thursday that vaccination readiness was “much higher” than expected, but doubts are growing over whether it will translate into new freedoms. Many are looking to Israel, where vaccination is faster. The first dilution should only take effect there when at least ninety percent of those over the age of fifty have been vaccinated with two doses. It is unlikely that this goal will be achieved in the UK until the end of May.
A government adviser of science, Jeremy Farrar, said Thursday that measures should not be eased until fewer than 10,000 Britons have contracted the coronavirus. Currently the number is 750,000. Farrar’s fellow on the Sage advisory board, London-based epidemiologist John Edmunds, suspected Thursday that certain contact restrictions would remain in place throughout the year. On buses, trains and interiors, mask requirements can be applied “forever”.
The biggest concern at the moment is a new type of virus, which was first discovered in Bristol, England. It is described as a further development of the so-called Kent variant, which is now responsible for most infections in the kingdom, and, according to Edmunds, has a “potential” to infect people who have already been vaccinated. To date, the authorities have recorded 21 cases of the new variant – 14 in Bristol, four in Manchester and three elsewhere in England.