Easing Covid restrictions in the UK can lead to a surge in infections upto 100,000 a day, warned Health Secretary Sajid Javid, media reports said.
The UK is set to ease lockdown measures on July 19. It was pushed back by four weeks from June 21 amid concern over the spread of the Delta variant.
According to Javid, the country will enter “uncharted territory” after curbs are lifted and may affect the unvaccinated people, notably the young, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
Previously Prime Minister Boris Johnson had also said that daily cases could hit 50,000 on July 19. But Javid expects rates to rise sharply after lockdown measures end.
Javid told the BBC that, thanks to the “huge wall of defence” built by the country’s vaccination programme, the number of deaths from the disease was now only one-thirtieth of those the last time daily cases hit 25,000.
The final decision to unlock the country on July 19 will be made by ministers on July 12, after considering the latest data. But Johnson and Javid expect it to go ahead, the report said.
The new Health Secretary also announced a shake-up of the self-isolation rules from August 16. Adults fully vaccinated would no longer have to self-isolate if they come in close contact with a person tested positive for Covid-19.
But people receiving a second dose around August 16 would have to wait two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective.
Meanwhile, Javid said that all under-18s would no longer have to be isolated from August 16 if they were in contact with a person who had tested positive.
The move will end the significant disruption in schools caused by pupils having to isolate if someone in their “bubble” contracts the disease, the report said.