BORIS Johnson has formally announced June 21's lockdown lifting is going to be delayed.
Addressing the nation at a press conference this evening, the Prime Minister said Britain's 'Freedom Day' would be delayed by four weeks to get "more vaccines into the arms of those who need them".
As a result, Britain's new date for lockdown lifting is July 19th, although a review will take place in two weeks time which could see things accelerated.
Sobering modelling predicted hospital admissions would soar to the peak of the first covid wave if Boris ploughed ahead with the roadmap on June 21
He said: "I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer... We will hold off until July 19.
"I am confident we won't need more than four weeks - it's unmistakable clear that the vaccines are working - but now is the time to ease off the accelerator," he added.
"We have the chance to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people," he went on to say.
Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates...
SIR PATRICK VALLANCE: TWO DOSES OF COVID VACCINE 'VERY EFFECTIVE AGAINST DELTA VARIANT'
Two doses of the Covid vaccine are very effective against the Delta variant, says Sir Patrick Vallance.
PM DODGES QUESTION OVER WHETHER SECOND DOSE TARGET WILL ALSO BE PUSHED FOWARD.
The Prime Minister is answering a question out by the BBC's Laura Kuessenberg.
He beats around the question of a target for second doses and instead says "I think there will be a layer of protection for the whole of the country."
He says step 4 "will be delivered by July 19" - and people may want to maintain social distancing - "but we will be in a better position for opening up".
FIRST VACCINE DOSE TARGET BROUGHT FORWARD TO JULY 19
Boris Johnson said by July 19 around two-thirds of the adult population would have received two jabs, including all over-50s, the vulnerable and health and care workers, along with over-40s who had received a first dose by mid-May.
"To do this we will now accelerate the second jabs for those over 40, just as we did for the vulnerable groups, so they get the maximum protection as fast as possible.
"We will bring forward our target to give every adult in this country a first dose by July 19."
BORIS JOHNSON: 'GIVE THE NHS A LITTLE EXTRA TIME'
Boris Johnson said he was announcing the delay to "give the NHS that extra time".
But the Prime Minister told a Downing Street press conference weddings would be able to go ahead with more than 30 guests - provided social distancing was in place.
The same provisions would apply to wakes, he said.
"We will continue to pilot events such as Euro 2020 and some theatrical performances," he said, indicating they will be allowed larger crowds than under the restrictions currently in place elsewhere as part of the research programme.
WHITTY: LINK BETWEEN INFECTION AND HOSPITALISATION 'HASN'T STOPPED'
We are seeing a "rapid rise" in cases despite a low rate of hospitalisations "across all parts of the country".
Prof Whitty confirms a 64 per cent increase in cases in England since last week.
"The increase in the new variant is occuring across the whole country," he adds.
The link between infection and hospitalisation has been "substantially weakened" but "not completely stopped".
BORIS JOHNSON ANNOUNCES DELAY ON JUNE 21 LOCKDOWN LIFT UNTIL JULY 19
Boris Johnson opened his coronavirus briefing by saying he believed he could give the NHS a few more weeks to get more vaccines into people’s arms.
He said: “I think it is sensible to wait a big longer.”
“We will hold off Step 4 openings,” he added.
He confirmed that the country would remain with its current restrictions, except for weddings which have had its 30-person limit lifted, until July 19 but insisted he is confident the country would not need more than four weeks.
PM: WEDDINGS WILL STILL BE ABLE TO TAKE PLACE
Weddings will still be able to place, as will funerals and Covid test pilot events, the PM has concerned.
But he said he belives that "no more extensions will be needed".
PM: COVID LIFT EXTENDED UNTIL JULY 19
We aim to have everyone vaccinated by July 19.
To do this, we will accelerate jabs and we will bring forward of our target to give EVERYONE a first dose, says the PM.
TO give the NHS that extra time, we will hold off on restrictions until July 28.
PM: WE SHOULD GIVE NHS A FEW MORE CRUCIAL WEEKS
The link between infection, hospitalisation and death has not been weakened.
We faced a very difficult choice - we can keep going with June 21, but thousands more deaths "could ensue".
Or we could give the NHS a few more crucial weeks to get jabs in arms.
PRIME MINISTER: WORRIES OVER ELDERLY AND VULNERABLE STILL REMAIN
This opening up has been accompanied by more infections and admissions.
We are learning better to live with the disease, says the PM.
But there is still a proportion of elderly and vulnerable will succumb
PM: HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS ARE UP
We are concerned about the Delta variant, which is spreading faster than the original predictions.
The average number of people admitted to hospital in England is 50% week by week.
We are cautious that this may become a shape of things to come.
PM: WE CAN'T ELIMINATE COVID
We must be clear - we cant elimate covid we must lern to live with it, says the PM.
Vaccination reduces transmission and two doses provide good protection.