British health officials expressed optimism Sunday that the coronavirus restrictions remaining in England can be lifted in June after an official study found that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines offer effective protection against the variant first identified in India.
Authorities in Britain have expressed concern in recent weeks that increasing cases of the Indian variant could jeopardize the U.K.’s so-far successful plan to reopen its economy. More than 2,880 cases of the Indian variant have been recorded in England, figures show.
The government has said the variant appears to be more transmissible, but there was still uncertainty about how concerning this was.
Jenny Harries, chief executive of the U.K. Health Security Agency, said officials in England are on track to proceed with the final stage of unlocking the country from June 21 if the public remains cautious.
Meanwhile, France may introduce stricter coronavirus restrictions for British visitors when it opens its tourism industry this summer to prevent the spread of a worrying virus variant first detected in India and causing concern in Britain, authorities said Sunday.
The possibility of tighter restrictions for British tourists was raised Sunday by Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.The minister suggested that Britain could be put in a health category of its own, somewhere in between the strictest measures that France is imposing on visitors from India and 15 other countries, and more relaxed requirements being readied for visitors from the European Union and some other countries. SOVEREIGNPH