(Bloomberg) -- U.K. ministers may bring forward second vaccine doses for millions of people and local restrictions could be imposed to curb the spread of a Covid-19 variant from India.Cases of the B.1.617.2 strain have risen to 1,313 from 520 over the past week, Public Health England said Thursday, assessing the strain to be “at least as transmissible” as the so-called Kent variant that took hold in December, precipitating the U.K.’s third lockdown in January.The government is ruling nothing out on tackling the spread of the variant, including the possibility of local lockdowns in the worst-hit areas, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi told broadcasters Friday. The vaccination program could also be altered to give people their second doses more quickly, so they are fully protected sooner, or to roll first doses out to younger people faster.There is no evidence the so-called Indian variant is able to evade the vaccines, he said, and plans to further reopen the economy on Monday would still go ahead in England, with pubs and restaurants able to serve people indoors.But he said ministers will look carefully at the data to assess whether all legal limits on social contact should be lifted on June 21 as planned.‘Anxious’Slowing the lockdown “roadmap” risks putting Prime Minister Boris Johnson into conflict with members of his own Conservative Party, who have already been agitating for a faster reopening amid a vaccination program that’s one of the most advanced in the world.Johnson said Thursday he is “anxious” about the spread of the variant.“Why on earth would we lock down when the vaccines continue to break the link between cases and hospitalizations and deaths?” Steve Baker, chairman of the party’s Covid Recovery Group, said in a statement. “We were told the roadmap was cautious -- in spite of the overwhelmingly promising data on the benefits of the NHS vaccine rollout -- precisely so it would be irreversible.”Exiting LockdownAuthorities are carrying out surge testing in places such as Bolton, in northwest England, where cases have been detected, as well as in parts of London, Public Health England said. Late on Thursday, the Department for Health and Social Care said in a statement that ministers are considering bringing forward planned second vaccine doses for eligible groups.At present, the U.K. allows for up to 12 weeks between first and second doses. Almost 36 million people have had their first dose, of whom almost 19 million have had a second dose. That leaves 17 million people whose second doses could be brought forward if the government decides to change policy.“While there is no firm evidence yet to show this variant has any greater impact on severity of disease or evades the vaccine, the speed of growth is concerning,” the department said. The government “will not hesitate to take further action if necessary,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.That could include local restrictions or “flexing” the vaccination program, Zahawi told Sky News Friday. “But we think that the roadmap for Monday remains in place because the vaccines are delivering because they’re keeping people out of hospital.”Wales UnlocksFrom Monday, people in England will be allowed to meet indoors in homes, pubs and restaurants. Cinemas and theaters will be allowed to reopen, and international holidays will no longer be illegal.Wales will also ease restrictions Monday, moving to alert level 2 from level 3, First Minister Mark Drakeford is set to confirm Friday, according to a statement from his office. Indoor hospitality businesses and entertainment venues will be able to open and more people will be allowed to attend organized indoor and outdoor activities. But Drakeford, too, warned of the new dangers.“The pandemic isn’t over: the new, so-called Indian variant of concern is another unwanted twist in this pandemic, which we are monitoring closely,” he said.(Updates with comment from vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi from third paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.