Richard Madeley clashes with Dr Hilary Jones on GMB as he argues lockdown easing shouldn’t be delayed after June 21
- The show’s guest host, 65, became visibly angry when discussing the possible delays
- On the potential delay being enforced, Richard asked Dr Hilary, 67,: ‘You’re going to agree, aren’t you?’, to which he replied: ‘I am’
- However in response, Richard insisted that due to the successful vaccine roll out there should be no delay
- Refusing to back down, Dr Hilary said ‘we still need to be a little more patient’
- Ministers are inching closer to making the call on whether to stick to the road map Boris Johnson announced back in February
Richard Madeley clashed with Dr Hilary Jones on Tuesday’s Good Morning Britain as he argued against a delay to lockdown easing on June 21.
The show’s guest host, 65, became visibly angry when discussing recent reports that the final stage of easing could be delayed by two weeks or more.
Ministers are inching closer to making the call on whether to stick to the road map Boris Johnson announced back in February.
On the potential delay being enforced, Richard asked Dr Hilary, 67,: ‘You’re going to agree, aren’t you?’, to which he replied: ‘I am.’
Heated: Richard Madeley (pictured) clashed with Dr Hilary Jones on Tuesday’s Good Morning Britain as he argued against a delay to lockdown easing on June 21
He continued: ‘I mean, we’re looking at rising cases, we’re looking at a population where – still – only 75 per cent have had the first jab and just over half have had the second jabs.
‘So a lot of people unprotected with a variant which is pretty nasty.
‘So the idea of mass gatherings, the idea of people abandoning masks, hand sanitising and social distancing is crazy at a time when things are getting worse.’
Tense: On the potential delay being enforced, Richard asked Dr Hilary, 67, (pictured): ‘You’re going to agree, aren’t you?’, to which he replied: ‘I am’
However in response, Richard insisted that due to the successful vaccine roll out in the UK, the government should allow the lockdown restrictions to lift.
He argued: ‘But we have government ministers who have said – repeatedly now after two weeks ago – that the vaccines have broken the link between Covid and hospitalisations and deaths. They’ve broken the link.’
Refusing to back down, Dr Hilary said: ‘And that is why we need to be a little more patient, get everybody vaccinated and then we can start thinking about lifting restrictions.
Argument: The show’s guest host Richard, 65, became visibly angry when discussing recent reports that the final stage of easing could be delayed by two weeks
Opinions: Richard insisted that due to the successful vaccine roll out in the UK, the government should allow the lockdown restrictions to lift
Freedom day could be delayed by a fortnight after Chris Whitty delivered a ‘downbeat’ assessment to ministers, it was claimed today.
The June 21 milestone could be pushed back to allow all over-50s to be fully vaccinated and give time for the jabs to take effect.
The Cabinet are split on the issue with some urging Boris Johnson to exercise caution while others say the focus must now shift to the economic recovery.
In a round of interviews this morning, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the government ‘don’t rule anything out’ in terms of changing the timetable.
Having her say: Susanna Reid, 50, then pointed out that the vaccination protects well against the Indian variant
But he also insisted that the data on vaccines were ‘encouraging’ and a final decision will not be taken until next Monday.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock – one of the main ‘doves’ in government – announced that surge testing and vaccines are being extended to Greater Manchester and Lancashire in response to Indian variant cases.
Medical and science chiefs Prof Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance reportedly gave a ‘fairly grim’ update on the situation to ministers, underlining that jabs can never provide 100 per cent protection and variants are significantly more transmissible.
Decisions: In a round of interviews this morning, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the government ‘don’t rule anything out’ in terms of changing the timetable
Whitehall sources said contingency plans are being drawn up for a possible ‘short’ delay to give scientists more time to consider data and allow the NHS to carry out more vaccinations.
Indian Covid variant is now dominant in 200 areas
The Indian ‘Delta’ Covid variant is now dominant in 201 authorities in England, data showed today as infections begin to rise in more parts of Britain than at any point since the peak of the second wave in early January.
Surveillance data showed the mutant strain was responsible for more than half of infections in two thirds of England over the two weeks to May 29, after spreading from hotspots in the North West and London.
This was double the number the previous week, when it was dominant in 102 areas, and eight times more than at the start of May when it was the main strain in just 23 areas.
The ‘Delta’ variant — dubbed B.1.617.2 — was also spotted in 272 of 317 council areas in England, or more than 85 per cent of the country.
It was behind 10,477 infections over the 14-day period. For comparison, the previously dominant Kent variant was blamed for just 3,171 infections in the same time, fewer than a third of those blamed on the Indian variant.
Bolton was battling the biggest outbreak of the strain over the two weeks to May 29, the latest data available, after detecting 1,674 cases.
One cabinet source told The Times they expected to see a delay of ‘between two weeks and a month’.
They said there was not much concern about political backlash as long as the full reopening happened before schools break for summer on July 23.
Mr Hancock and Michael Gove are among those pushing a more dovish approach, while Rishi Sunak and Grant Shapps want to avoid delay.
Despite the vaccine success, some ministers and officials have been spooked by a surge in Covid cases – with a 68 per cent rise today compared to last week.
However, those cases have so far not fed through into hospitalisations and deaths, suggesting immunity levels are offering substantial protection.
Failure to lift restrictions will mean that those getting married will have to keep the number of attendees at the current limit of 30.
Meanwhile continuing to limit indoor gatherings to six people or two households would curtail sections of the hospitality sector reliant on large-scale events.
The row comes as people aged 25 to 30 will be offered their first jab from today as ministers try to step up the vaccination programme.
In other developments, official figures showed just one Covid-related death in the UK recorded yesterday.
The Prime Minister is due to announce next Monday if the Government will press ahead with the fourth and final step in the roadmap out of lockdown.
This would scrap the one-metre social distancing rule and lift caps on the number of people who can meet indoors or outdoors.
Ministers are also set to rule on whether mask wearing should continue and if formal advice to work from home should end.
Downing Street sources said the ‘finely balanced’ decision would be taken at the end of this week.
Discussions: Business leaders and Tory MPs warned any delay from June 21 would be devastating and could see thousands of pubs and restaurants go to the wall. Pictured: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps
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