London, Jun 14 (EFE).- The lifting of coronavirus restrictions in England will be delayed by four weeks, British prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday, due to rising Covid-19 infections in the country driven by the more virulent Delta variant.
“I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer,” Johnson told a press conference, in order to give the National Health Service enough time to vaccinate the required number of people.
“Now is the time to ease off the accelerator,” he said.
By July 19, authorities aim to have given two jabs to two thirds of the adult population, the prime minister said, while all adults in the UK will have been offered their first dose by that date as well.
Britain was due to end current rules limiting capacity for sports, pubs and social contact on June 21. Nightclubs would have been able to reopen and the cap on wedding lists lifted.
But after scientists called for the reopening to be delayed, ministers signed off on the decision to delay the easing of restrictions for four weeks.
The extension will have to be approved by a vote in the House of Commons in which the Conservatives are expected to vote against.
The decision comes after an increase in coronavirus cases of the Delta variant led to a concerning rise in hospitalizations. The Delta variant accounts for 90% of infections in the UK and is 60% more contagious than the Alpha variant, according to experts.
The delay will also speed up vaccinations so that more people can receive their second doses.
On Sunday, the UK recorded 7,490 new cases of Covid-19 and 8 deaths.