Couples hoping to tie the knot face ANOTHER delay as Indian Covid strain puts June 21 reopening date in doubt
COUPLES looking to get hitched may face another heartbreaking delay as the Indian Covid strain puts the UK's reopening date in doubt, say reports.
Boris Johnson suggested he would need to give four weeks notice ahead of June 21 – the date which he has said he wants to relax all rules and restrictions if virus stats are looking good.
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The PM wants to give a heads up on changes to wedding rules so loved-up couples can have their banns read out in time ahead of their big day.
He had earlier told the House of Commons he would be making an announcement within 28 days of June 21 – meaning a statement is expected around May 24.
However, government sources have now told the Telegraph it is "very unlikely" that announcements would be made then because of the worrying surge in the Indian variant.
Wedding industry representatives say any further delay would cause "panic" for those planning to marry in front of a large crowd of family and friends.
At the moment 30 people are restricted to weddings, and Brits face having to social distance and being banned from dancing.
Only venues which can legally open are allowed to hold weddings at the moment.
But it had been hoped those strict rules would end on June 21 under Mr Johnson's roadmap reopening schedule.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive, of UKHospitality, said: "Many people have held off for so long.
"You can't legally wait until June 14. You have to make a decision about whether to press ahead or not."
She believes wedding venues should be allowed to open from June 21 with similar rules to business venues – currently allowed 50 per cent capacity in rooms up to 1,000 people
Earlier we revealed how the UK may be heading for a third Covid wave as home quarantines "are not working" as cases of the Indian variant continue to rise.
Professor Andrew Hayward, an infectious disease expert and Sage advisior told BBC Breakfast this morning he is “very concerned” about the spread of the B1.617.2 variant.
Asked if the UK is at the start of a third wave of Covid infections, he replied: “I think so.”
Prof Hayward warned the mutation is likely to spread to other parts of the country, adding: "Obviously we’re doing everything we can to contain the spread of that but it’s likely that more generalised measures may start to be needed to control it."
The Indian B.1617.2 variant has already infected at least 3,000 people since it emerged in mid-April – and is believed to be the dominant strain across 23 areas in the UK, leading to a surge testing blitz.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a Downing Street press conference yesterday: “We are seeing the vast majority of cases, both of the existing variant and of the B1617.2 variant, amongst younger groups and unvaccinated people.
“On the one hand hand that is actually a good sign as it implies the vaccine is working effectively, but obviously we don’t want to see a huge increase in the number of cases everywhere.”
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