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The British government has extended lockdown laws to give councils the power to close pubs, restaurants, shops and public spaces until July 17, and has also decided to quarantine travelers from high-risk Covid-19 countries for at least 10 days as it is unable to arrest the rising numbers of new Covid variant infections.

The Telegraph reported on Saturday, the British government has quietly extended lockdown laws to give councils the power to close pubs, restaurants, shops and public spaces until July 17.

Also, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will force travellers from high-risk COVID-19 countries to quarantine in hotels for ten days, in a decision to be taken on Monday, the Daily Mail said.

On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government could not consider easing lockdown restrictions with infection rates at their current high levels, and until it is confident that the vaccination programme is working.

He also warned on Friday that the new UK variant of COVID-19 may be associated with a higher level of mortality as the country's death tally from COVID-19 nears the 100,000 mark - hitting 97,329 on Saturday.

Doctors expressed apprehension regarding the decision to delay the second dose

Meanwhile, Britain's COVID-19 vaccination push gathered pace on Saturday, with 5.9 million people now having had the first dose, but doctors expressed apprehension regarding the decision to delay the second dose. Currently, the government is leaving a gap of 12 weeks between the first and the second dose allowing Britain's vaccine programme to proceed quickly. This is against the advisory of the vaccine Pfizer and BioNTech.

The British government is stretching out the gap between first and second shots as it seeks to ensure as many people as possible can be given some protection from an initial vaccine dose.

But in a letter to Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England Chris Whitty, the British Medical Association said leaving the 12-week interval for the Pfizer vaccine went against World Health Organization guidance.

They urged the government to reduce the gap between Pfizer doses to a maximum of six weeks.

The makers of the vaccine, Pfizer and BioNTech, have warned that they have no evidence their vaccine would continue to be protective if the second dose is given more than three weeks after the first.

(With inputs from agencies)

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