A former chief scientific adviser has given hope that the June 21 reopening could still take place, despite several scientists calling for a delay amid surging cases.
Prof Sir Mark Walport told BBC Breakfast that “the situation is very delicately balanced”, noting that there were lots of unknowns, particularly to what extent higher cases are translating into hospitalisations and deaths.
Although there was “no doubt” that the Indian variant was more transmissible, and that current relaxations would allow for more potential mixing, the vaccines appeared to be having an effect, he added.
“Hospital admissions are not surging, if anything they are coming down,” he added. But when pressed on the likely outcome he insisted more data was required.
“The Prime Minister has to make a difficult decision,” he added. “Admissions to hospital are going to be critical.”