Boris Johnson to hold press conference today amid concerns over Indian variant of Covid
The Prime Minister is holding a press conference this evening.
Boris Johnson will be joined by England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty
The press conference will take place at 5pm, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said.
It comes as 15 areas in England have seen rising cases of the Indian variant of concern.
London and the North West have seen the biggest rise in cases, with Public Health England (PHE) data showing the Indian variant has been responsible for four deaths as of May 12.
Nadhim Zahawi urged people in those areas to follow local health advice, get tested and isolate if they test positive.
The Government is looking at ways to ‘flex’ the rollout of vaccines in the worst hit areas such as the North West, including vaccinating everyone in multi-generational households from 18-year-olds to grandparents, Mr Zahawi said.
More vaccine doses have been sent to Bolton, which has a particularly high rate of the Indian variant, while 800,000 PCR tests have been sent to 15 separate areas of the England, including parts of London and Merseyside.
One option also being considered by clinical advisers to the Government, who are meeting on Friday, is to bring forward the date for second doses of vaccine for the elderly and vulnerable in regions where the Indian variant is spreading.
Asked on BBC Breakfast what is stopping vaccines being given to younger age groups in affected areas now, Mr Zahawi said it takes three weeks to build protection from a first dose and to have any effect on transmission of the virus.
The Government is expected to make further decisions regarding the vaccine programme once clinical advisers have looked at the evidence and made recommendations.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, for 27p a day.