British Leader Says No Virus Variant Will Delay Easing COVID-19 Restrictions

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tuesday said there is, so far, no conclusive evidence a COVID-19 variant will affect the government’s schedule for lifting restrictions in the country, after warning last week it could do so. Speaking to reporters while touring a London mass vaccination center, Johnson said health officials would continue to gather data on the virus variant first identified in India to determine if is more transmissible and to what degree.  But he said, “I don’t see any conclusive evidence at the moment to say that we need to deviate from the roadmap.” Britain Monday moved into Step 3 of its roadmap, opening pubs and restaurants to indoor seating as well as other hospitality venues. The nation is scheduled to move to Step 4 on June 21, which calls for all restrictions to be lifted.  Johnson said people should remain cautious and that the government should have a better idea of the situation in a few days. He also warned people not to visit countries that have not been cleared for travel by the government due to their coronavirus infection rates. He said travelers who must visit such countries on pressing business, should be tested at their own expense, and self-isolate for 10 days at home after returning.  COVID-19 infection numbers, hospitalizations and deaths continue to fall in Britain. But spikes in infections involving the India variant have been found in communities in northeast Britain and in some parts of London in recent weeks. 

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