June 20, 2021

UK Covid live news: country in ‘perilous moment’, says former chief scientific adviser

Boris Johnson urged to use data to make decision ahead of planned easing as cases...

Boris Johnson urged to use data to make decision ahead of planned easing as cases rise in more areas in north-west England

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1.41pm BST

The Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins has written on the topic on everyone’s lips right now, will “freedom day” – the lifting of the last lockdown restrictions on 21 June – go ahead? The only thing we know, he helpfully suggests, is that we don’t know.

Here’s a flash of his column.

England faces the tensest two weeks of its entire lockdown. On 14 June, the government must decide if the long-promised “freedom day” of 21 June can proceed as promised. That promise has now been plunged into doubt. A three-day surge in “cases” of the variant of Covid first detected in India may, or may not, mark the start of a third wave of the coronavirus. Boris Johnson has promised that any more lockdown will be over his dead body, but Johnson’s body has already lost more lives than the proverbial cat.

We now know, thanks to the new patron saint of whistleblowers, Dominic Cummings, the scale of government ineptitude and shambles that attended the first two lockdowns. People can now scream at ministers to make up their minds, show judgment, give a steer, keep their promises. But today the issue is not one of judgment, but of facts. We await data much as a nation awaits news of a battle in distant parts. Without news, we cannot think how to act.

Related: Will ‘freedom day’ go ahead? The only thing we know is we don’t know | Simon Jenkins

1.25pm BST

Ninety-four more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Wales, taking the total number of confirmed infections in the country so far to 212,796.

According to the latest data released by Public Health Wales on Tuesday, there had been no new deaths attributed to Covid-19. The total pandemic death toll in the country stood at 5,569.

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