Boris Johnson has called for patience as he extended lockdown in England for another month in the face of rising covid infections.
The Prime Minister had planned to lift all remaining restrictions next Monday, June 21, but has now set a new date of July 19 in a bid to avoid a huge third wave of Covid that would cost “thousands” of deaths,
The Prime Minister was joined by Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer and Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser at the Downing Street press conference as they sought to buy time to double-dose more of the population before easing restrictions.
Johnson said: “We can give the NHS a few more crucial weeks to get those remaining jabs into the arms of those who need them.”
He added: “I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer.”
The move follows warnings from scientists that the rapid spread of the Delta variant first identified in India risks a third wave if it is allowed to spread unchecked.
Nicola Sturgeon will update the Scottish parliament with a covid statement on Tuesday on whether the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions in Scotland will go ahead on June 28.
The Scottish Government had indicated it hoped to move all areas to the lowest level of restrictions,level zero, from this date.
But a rise in case rates and hospital numbers, driven by the spread of the Delta variant, may mean this is delayed.
Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles and some of the smaller islands have been in level zero since June 5.
The rest of Scotland is currently in either level one or two.
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A total of 6,211 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Scotland in the seven days to June 10, according to Public Health Scotland.
This is the equivalent of 113.7 cases per 100,000 people, up from 88.4 one week earlier and the highest since February 7.
Scotland also has the highest rate among the four nations of the UK.
Of the 32 local authority areas in Scotland, Dundee currently has the highest rate: 288.6, up week-on-week from 162.7
Some 3.5 million first doses of Covid-19 vaccine have now been delivered in Scotland – the equivalent of 79.3 per cent of the adult population.
A further 2.4 million second doses have also been given, meaning 55.2 per cent of people aged 18 and over are likely to be fully vaccinated.
Johnson’s announcement has been met with fury by some Tory MPs but the PM is in even bigger trouble with the Commons Speaker for failing to make his statement in parliament.
Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle told MPs he thinks it is “totally unacceptable” that the Government held a press conference on the changes to the Covid road map timetable before telling the House of Commons.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock was due to answer questions in the chamber at 8.30pm but Sir Lindsay said: “Can I just say, we weren’t going to get a statement until I got involved with Downing Street. The fact is this has been forced to actually get a statement today, it was going to be left to tomorrow which would have been totally unacceptable.”