Lichfield’s MP is “very disappointed” that the easing of coronavirus restrictions has had to be put back – but he says it would be irresponsible to ignore the impact of the Delta variant.
The Prime Minister confirmed that the so-called Freedom Day would not take place on 21st June.
Instead, 19th July will be the earliest date when the Government will move to the Step 4 stage of the roadmap out of lockdown.
It comes amid concerns over increasing numbers of the Delta variant.
Conservative MP Michael Fabricant said the news was a blow.
“I am very disappointed that Freedom Day won’t now happen now in June and has been postponed to 19th July.
“Many had been looking forward to it and I know businesses and individuals will be unhappy about this decision.
“We desperately need to get the economy moving again, but the new Delta variant from India is 60% more contagious and more likely to cause serious disease than the original Covid.
“But at least we have not had to go into reverse and stricter rules have not had to be imposed.”Michael Fabricant MP
“Utterly irresponsible to ignore this variant”
Mr Fabricant said that the country was now in a race to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible.
“We can all be relieved that this Indian variant does not evade the vaccine though a few people with two shots may still catch the disease although it is unlikely – and we can take comfort in that we are way ahead of Europe in our vaccination programme.
“I do understand that this is a race between Covid vaccination and the spreading disease.
“By 19th July, two thirds of all adults and everyone over 50 will have had two vaccine shots and it is expected that by then we can then move to Step 4 and near normality.
“In the past, the Prime Minister has always said that his dates for change are the very earliest. This time he said that if the infection rate does improve quicker than anticipated, Step 4 may come sooner – though I think it unlikely.
“This delay won’t be a popular decision, but when the various dates were announced last year, the Indian variant was unknown.
“It would be utterly irresponsible of any Government to ignore this variant and changed infection rates.
“I hope that, provided no new unknown variant emerges, by the second half of July we will be back to normal though personally I am making no foreign holiday arrangements as quarantines from some countries will still be in place. I suggest others are cautious about overseas travel too.
“We are all going to have to live with Covid by keeping vaccinated, but I hope that in a year, we can look back at this dark period as a distant memory of things past.”Michael Fabricant MP