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UPDATE 1-UK to make final lockdown easing decision on June 14

Sun, 16th May 2021 09:07

(Adds vaccine comments, context)

LONDON, May 16 (Reuters) - Britain will make a decision on
June 14 about whether or not to go ahead with the final phase of
its easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, health minister
Matt Hancock said on Sunday.

Britain on Friday announced that it would accelerate its
COVID-19 vaccination programme to try to contain a
fast-spreading variant first identified in India, which could
knock a re-opening of the economy off track.

"We'll make a final decision for step four, which is the
biggest step on the roadmap. We'll make that final decision on
the 14th of June," Hancock told Sky News.

The last of four stages in the removal of lockdown
restrictions is currently scheduled for June 21 and could ditch
social distancing measures entirely.

The third stage is due to start on Monday. Among other
measures, the easing will allow people to hug each other and
enable pubs and restaurants to serve customers inside.

Hancock also said that early data showed that vaccines were
effective against the Indian variant.

"There is new, very early data out from Oxford University,
and I would stress that this is from the labs, it's not clinical
data, and it is very early, but it does give us a degree of
confidence that the vaccines work against this Indian variant,"
Hancock said.

(Reporting by William James
Editing by David Clarke and David Goodman

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