On Monday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a hopeful outlook for the return of nightlife due to developments in COVID-19 vaccination and rapid testing. In a Tuesday interview, however, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi made comments indicating that live events are unlikely to resume anytime before August.
Zahawi confirmed that “it will be a combination of the national vaccination program becoming really successful … and rapid testing technology where you can get a quick test done” in conversation with Sky News. He remarked that a reopening timeline would be “data driven rather than date driven,” contingent upon every adult being vaccinated – which is projected to happen in August or September, according to vaccine task force head Clive Dix.
“The prime minister is right to say that where we are today in terms of number of people in hospital, in terms of case numbers per day, it’s still far too high and we want to make sure we bring that right down,” Zahawi said. “But I wouldn’t want to speculate on this until we see more data.”
Zahawi also touched on challenges posed by a “tsunami of disinformation,” which he argues has caused vaccine hesitance among BIPOC groups. Despite these setbacks, he says 89% of adults in the U.K. say they will take the vaccine – the highest proportion of any country in the world. 73% of Australians, 71% of Americans, 68% of Germans, and 57% of French are vaccine positive, according to Mixmag.
The U.K. met its initial goal of offering vaccine jabs to every inhabitant 70 or over – a total of 15 million people – by Monday, per State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock.
Image credit: Alexander Popov