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Work from home order could be set to stay beyond June 21 if Covid cases continue to surge

WORK from home might be around for a little longer as government officials consider delaying the return of workers to offices.

Whitehall plan to keep the advice to work from home gone June 21 when Boris is set to lift the lock down.

Commuters making their way around London

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Commuters making their way around LondonCredit: Alamy
Whitehall are in discussion over keeping the advice to work from home in place

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Whitehall are in discussion over keeping the advice to work from home in placeCredit: Alamy

The decision will be made at the expense of lifting other lockdown restrictions.

Boris has already taken drastic action in removing Portugal from the green list in the hope of protecting the final stage of his road map.

The return to the offices is seen as being the least economically damaging option to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

According to the Telegraph, government sources confirmed that officials were examining whether to retain the “work from home” guidance in the event that Covid hospitalisations and deaths surge in coming weeks.

June 21 is scheduled as the UK’s freedom day when lockdown restrictions are set to be lifted as part of the final step in the roadmap.

Constraints on all social contact will be lifted and the cap on numbers attending events will be removed.

Despite this date being penciled in by Boris, he will not yet make a firm decision until a week beforehand, when ministers get the chance to see most recent data on the impact of the new variants.

The Sun have urged readers to sign up to the Jabs Army after scientists warn that plans to take the final step out of lockdown hang in the balance due to surging rates of the Indian strain.

Ministers have increased jab efforts — vowing to offer both doses to everyone over 50 by June 21.

The Sun have urged readers to sign up to the Jabs Army after scientists
The Sun have urged readers to sign up to the Jabs Army after scientists
Fifty towns, cities and council areas are desperate for extra stewards
Fifty towns, cities and council areas are desperate for extra stewards

Business across the UK have already adapted well to work from home with many keen on switching to a more hybrid model in which employees will only travel into the office for some days a week.

A Treasury source told The Telegraph: “Obviously working from home does have some consequences, but there’s no difference between now and two weeks’ time because the economic support will still be in place. There’s not that imperative to change the advice.”

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, markedly left open the door earlier this week for working from home and face masks to be retained beyond June 21.

Measures such as the “one metre plus” rule are set to be on their way out and will not be missed.

Many in the hospitality industry say social distancing rules have harmed their sector massively.

However, there have been calls from some government scientists that the planned reopening on June 21 is too soon.

On Thursday Prof John Edmunds, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said that keeping people working from home is “one of the biggest levers” the Government could pull, in controlling the spread of the virus.

The scientist called for caution about encouraging people back into workplaces, but stressed that any decision was “political”.

He said: “Changes in working patterns have significantly reduced the contacts that adults have made…. that’s probably the one of the biggest levers that the government can pull, to suggest that people work from home if they can.”

Prof Edmunds suggested ministers take the decision about opening up “as late as possible” in order to have as much data as possible about the effectiveness of vaccines, and transmissibility of new variants.

He urged ministers last week to delay a full reopening on June 21.

Prof Edmunds was speaking as research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that the number of daily contacts has doubled since lockdown.

Prof Edmunds said: “Working from home does have a significant impact on limiting numbers of contacts that people make, not just in work, but also in the other things that people do around work – going for a drink with workmates afterwards and things like that. So it does, it does reduce contacts.”

The UK recorded 5,274 new Covid cases yesterday, the highest number of daily infections since march.

There have also been another 18 coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 127,812

The hospitality industry has suffered drastically due to lock down restrictions

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The hospitality industry has suffered drastically due to lock down restrictionsCredit: Getty
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