Another 2,412 people in the UK have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, the Department of Health has confirmed.

The rise is more than 400 compared to the day before, as concerns grow over rising cases of the highly-transmissible Indian variant.

Today’s figures have also confirmed another seven deaths within 28 days of testing positive for the virus.

There have been 62 Covid deaths recorded in the past seven days, 24 fewer than the previous week.

It brings the official death toll to 127,691, however cases where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate puts the number at nearly 152,000.

A further 106,733 people received their first dose of the Covid vaccine yesterday, while 259,049 had their second.

It means 36,811,405 people have had at least their first shot while 20,546,452 have had both.

Despite cases of the Indian variant growing in parts of the country, Boris Johnson has said the country path out of lockdown remains on track, for now.

But last week he warned plans could change depending on how infectious the strain turns out to be.

Speaking at a vaccination centre in London today, the PM told reporters: ‘We are looking at the epidemiology the whole time as it comes in and, at the moment, partly because we have built up such a wall of defences with the vaccination programme, I don’t see anything conclusive at the moment to say that we need to deviate from the road map.

‘But we’ve got to be cautious and we are keeping everything under very close observation. We’ll know a lot more in a few days’ time.’

More than five million people are now living in areas where the Indian strain has become the most dominant.

The variant has been the most detected in Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen. In the two weeks leading up to May 8, it made up more than 80% of infections in the local authorities – a massive increase from 28.6% in Bolton and 18% in Blackburn with Darwen on April 24.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that out of 19 people in Bolton in hospital with the Indian strain, the majority of them were eligible for the vaccine but had declined to take it.

Speaking to the Commons, he added: ‘This shows the new variant is not tending to penetrate into older, vaccinated groups, and it underlines again the importance of getting the jab especially but not only amongst the vulnerable age groups.’

Bedford, in the East of England, and Sefton in Merseyside have also become hotspots for the variant, with more than 80% of infections being caused by the strain in the week leading to May 8.

The variant has also spread across London, with Mayor Sadiq Khan calling for younger people to be vaccinated in badly affected boroughs.

Public Health England data from May 12 shows there have been 400 cases of the variant in the area.

Figures on individual boroughs haven’t been given, but it has been widely reported that infections were identified in Hackney, with cases traced to Shoreditch and Dalston.

Yesterday saw the next step of Downing Street’s roadmap out of lockdown go ahead, with pubs and restaurants given the green-light to serve customers indoors again.

People are also allowed to mix indoors again in groups of six or two households, but ministers have urged people to think carefully before hugging their pals again.

Hancock said he would hug his parents outside and encouraged others to do the same. He told Sky News: ‘Of course there are people who have been yearning to have some physical contact. You should do that carefully. If you’ve had both jabs more than two weeks ago, that’s much safer.’

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