The government is sounding increasingly upbeat about the prospect of sticking to the roadmap. At this evening’s coronavirus press briefing, professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the Indian variant was probably no higher than 50 per cent more transmissible than the Kent strain, at least according to initial assessments. Meanwhile, Dr Jenny Harries said there was currently no evidence to suggest that the variant was driving up hospital numbers. But Matt Hancock was keen to remind viewers that 14 June is when the final decision will be taken on whether to stick to 21 June as the unlocking date.
The Health Secretary also had to deal with the ongoing confusion over the amber list. He had come armed with examples of those who had said the correct thing about travelling on holiday so that he could insist when asked that ministers had been ‘crystal clear’ on the subject. Strangely, though, he missed out all the times ministers had said the wrong thing, including Welsh Secretary Simon Hart suggesting that ‘some people will think a holiday is essential’. He also failed to mention George Eustice’s unfortunate slip up when he said yesterday that Brits could go on holiday to amber countries, only to be corrected later by the Prime Minister who insisted that holidays should only be taken in green list countries. Hancock also missed out health minister Lord Bethell, who contradicted the government advice by saying ‘traveling is not for this year. Please stay in this country’.
One of the things that ministers are struggling with is that we are moving from being told exactly what we can and can’t do to a world of more general advice and guidance.