The final relaxation of coronavirus lockdown restrictions has been delayed until next month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed.

It means that step four of the Government's roadmap towards easing the rules will not go ahead next Monday, June 21, amid concern around the Delta variant of Covid-19.

Two of the Government's four tests have not been met - these are the tests on variants changing the risks; and the risk of a “surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS”.

Mr Johnson confirmed the delay in a Downing Street press conference this evening.

The Prime Minister said the Government had faced a "very difficult choice" but that "now is the time to ease off the accelerator".

As a result, hospitalisations could be kept down and millions more people vaccinated, he said.

However, the 30-person limit on weddings will be removed in England from June 21. That means there will be no numerical limit on either receptions or ceremonies - either indoors or outdoors.

And the 30-person limit on other commemorative events including wakes will be lifted in England from June 21.

Rules on visits outside care homes will be relaxed in England from June 21 too, despite the delay in other areas.

There are no changes to indoor hospitality rules, or any changes to allow large events to go ahead in a blanket way without social distancing.

Laws on wearing masks in shops and on public transport are not being lifted from June 21, and advice to work from home where possible would continue to apply.

There are no changes to the furlough scheme or other economic support despite the four-week delay.

England could suffer a wave of hospital cases as bad as the first wave last April if step four went ahead on June 21, government advisors believe.

Modelling by the Government’s Spi-M group suggested there was a possibility of hospital admissions reaching the heights of the first peak in March 2020 if the relaxation went ahead on Monday.

More than 3,000 new UK patients per day were being admitted at the height of the first wave - compared to under 200 a day now.

Nationally there are around 8,000 new cases per day, the highest since February.

Experts believe the Delta variant is driving a rapid accelerations in cases, estimating it is between 40% and 80% more transmissible than the Alpha variant first found in Kent.

The extension will give more time to get people jabbed. The Government has officially brought forward its July 31 target to offer a first dose of vaccine to all over-18s in England.

Instead it now aims to offer all adults a first dose of the vaccine by July 19 - the new date step four should take effect.

At the same time, ministers have set a new target to offer all eligible over-40s in England a second dose by July 19 at the latest.

To achieve this, all over-40s will now be offered their second dose eight weeks after their first - not 12 weeks, as is the case now.

There will be a two-week review of the delay on June 28. The move to step four will only be confirmed on July 12.

A Parliamentary debate and vote will take place today on extending Step 3 regulations - which end on June 30 - to end on July 18-19.