Boris Johnson has confirmed that the final stage of the coronavirus roadmap will be delayed by four weeks.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference this evening, the Prime Minister said England will remain at step three until at least July 19 because two of the four tests have not been met.

Mr Johnson announced the setback to the final phase of his plan due to concerns over the rapidly-spreading Delta variant first identified in India.

Experts feared going ahead with Step 4 on June 21 as planned could lead to hospital admissions on the scale of the first wave of Covid-19 heaping unsustainable pressure on the health service.

To avert this, Mr Johnson said that the end of all legal limits on social contact would be put back to July 19.

He hopes deaths will be significantly reduced by that point because two-thirds of adults will have then been offered both vaccine doses due to the delay being coupled with a reduction in the time between jabs for the over-40s.

Limits on numbers for sports events, pubs and cinemas will therefore remain in place, nightclubs will stay shuttered and people will be asked to continue working from home where possible.

Downing Street left open the option of ending restrictions on July 5 if the data proves drastically better than expected but conceded this is “unlikely”.

Mr Johnson did, however, announce a limited easing of restrictions to take place from June 21 as he faces the prospect of a rebellion from Conservative MPs who are furious about the delay.

The 30-person cap for wedding ceremonies and receptions, as well as wakes, will be lifted, with limits to be set by venues based on social distancing requirements.

Care home residents will also no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days after leaving for visits in most cases.

Fans were expected to be able to attend the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final in Wembley as the pilots on attendance of large events continue.

The latest data shows infections are up by 49 per cent in a week, with the Delta Covid variant making up the vast majority of new cases.

The PM’s official spokesman said delayed the end of restrictions means "thousands more deaths can be prevented" as it gives time to get more people vaccinated.

The government has officially brought forward its July 31 target to offer a first dose of vaccine to all over-18s in the 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.

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.

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.

Ministers were expected to hold a vote in Parliament on Wednesday in order for the Government to be given the legal powers to extend the restrictions.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is also expected address the Commons at 8.30pm. today, June 14.

Weddings

The 30-person limit on weddings will be removed in England from June 21, despite step four being delayed.

That means there will be no numerical limit on either receptions or ceremonies - either indoors or outdoors.

Instead, capacity limits will be the highest number of people venues can accommodate while still being Covid-secure.

This is the approach that is already taken to funerals.

The 30-person limit will also be lifted on weddings outdoors on private land, including in gardens. There will be a risk assessment which organisers need to fill out.

It will mean weddings with hundreds of people can go ahead after months of uncertainty.

But other restrictions on weddings - including the ban on most singing and dancing, and guests having to wear masks at certain points - will remain in place until step four.

People at an indoor venue will need to be on tables of no more than six people. Indoor venues must shut off their dance floors - apart from for the “first dance”.

Marquees on private land need to have two sides open to qualify as 'outdoors'.

The rule of six indoors still applies to weddings in private homes - except for deathbed weddings, which can have up to 30 guests.

Wakes

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

Instead, capacity will be driven by the maximum number of people a venue can accommodate within Covid-secure rules.

This means wakes will follow the same capacity rules as funerals and weddings.

Care homes

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

The PM’s spokesman said: “The requirement for residents to isolate for 14 days after visits out of care homes will also be removed in most cases.”

It is not yet confirmed which cases will still require a 14-day isolation.

However, officials indicated care home residents won’t need to isolate at all after visits outside their home, apart from possibly hospital visits.

It’s not yet known if this will allow residents to have overnight stays with relatives.

Fuller guidance is due to be published by the Department of Health and Social Care.

Large events

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.

But the government is looking at holding more events research pilots which could help theatres and similar venues in the long run.

"We appreciate the pressure that some sectors are under", No10 said.

Face masks

General laws on masks in shops and on public transport remain in place, and are not being lifted from June 21.

There are no plans to reintroduce masks in schools - though there is an element of local decision making based on cases in their area.

Local authorities retain the ability to change their approach in areas where there are sig outbreaks - but "we're confident our guidelines are the right approach”, said No10.

Social distancing and Covid certification ('passport' reviews)

These had been due to be published ahead of step four.

Because step four has been delayed, the outcome of these reviews has now been delayed as well - and they will not be published today.

Working from home

Advice to work from home where possible will continue to apply after June 21, due to the delay to step four.

MPs vote

The government needs to extend Step 3 regulations - which end on 30 June - to end on 18-19 July.

This will require a debate and a vote to take place on Wednesday.

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