Boris Johnson Covid update: Concerns over Indian variant addressed

Prime minister Boris Johnson has spoken alongside chief medical officer Chris Whitty today (Friday, May 14).

Prime minister Boris Johnson called this afternoon's briefing earlier today and addressed concerns over the Indian variant of the virus. Cases of the variant more than doubled in one week in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

He confirmed there have been 'further clusters' of the variant especially in Bolton, Blackburn and 'some other parts of the country'.

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Mr Johnson said: "It is more transmissible than the previous one.

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"I believe we should trust in our vaccines to protect the public whilst monitoring the situation as it develops very closely because the race between our vaccination programme and the virus may be about to become great deal tighter and it is more important than ever, therefore, that people get the additional protection of a second dose.

"So following advice from the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation we will accelerate remaining second doses to the over 50s and those clinically vulnerably right across the country so those doses come just eight weeks after the first does.

"At this stage, there is not evidence of increased cases translating into unmanageable pressures on the NHS, even in Bolton and infections, deaths and hospitalisations nationally remain at their lowest levels since last summer.

"This is a balanced decision: I don't believe that we need to delay our roadmap. We will proceed with our plan."

As part of 'step three' of the government's roadmap for exiting lockdown will take place no sooner than May 17. This stage included the reopening of indoor hospitality but remains subject to infection rates.

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