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Nothing Conclusive on Changing Roadmap, says PM

May 19,2021.

There is "nothing conclusive" in the data that means England "would have to deviate from the roadmap" out of lockdown, Boris Johnson has said.

The government plans to end remaining legal limits on social contact from 21 June, but there is increasing concern about the Indian variant. The situation, including data from hotspots such as Bolton, was "under close review", the prime minister said. Ministers will "let people know in a few days' time" after data is studied.

Speaking on a visit to a vaccination centre in London, Mr Johnson continued to urge people to be cautious. He said the situation with the Indian variant was "under very careful, close review", saying: "We're looking at all the data as it comes in from places like Bolton, Blackburn, Bedford, Sefton."

Mr Johnson said they were trying to understand if the Indian variant was more transmissible and "to what extent our vaccine programme has sufficiently fortified us. We've got a few more days of looking at that data," he said.

On Monday the government said 86 local councils in England had five or more cases of the variant first discovered in India, which is thought to be more transmissible. In Bolton, a new vaccine centre has opened up and ministers have been stepping up calls for people to book vaccinations as soon as they are offered appointments. Elsewhere, regional public health directors are concerned about rising cases of the variant in London. Cases have spread across a number of boroughs, although currently most are linked to foreign travel.

The prime minister's official spokesman said that while the government was not ruling out measures such as local lockdowns at this stage, it was "too early to speculate" on what future measures it may need to take. Asked if a decision was expected sooner than 14 June on progressing to the final step of England's roadmap, the spokesman said that in relation to certification and social distancing, ministers "do want to update pubs and businesses, if possible, before 14 June". But he added they needed to "allow the experts to do their work" and "couldn't be more specific on timings".