Great Britain

UK Covid cases rise by 26% in a week after June 21 Freedom Day is delayed over Indian variant third wave fears

COVID cases spiked by 26 per cent in a week the day after it was revealed the June 21 Freedom Day would be delayed by four weeks over third wave fears.

Ten new coronavirus deaths have been reported over the past 24 hours, pushing the tally to 127,917.

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The latest stats show there were 7,673 new Covid infections reported, with the overall tally sitting at 4,581,006 cases.

By comparison, last Tuesday we had 6,048 cases and 13 deaths recorded.

The stats come as Boris Johnson last night confirmed that Freedom Day will be delayed for at least a month - after scientists warned of 500 deaths a day if we unlock now.

At a gloomy press conference the PM said current restrictions would stay until July 19 - as the NHS rushes to jab more people, quicker to beat the Delta variant.

Sobering modelling predicted hospital admissions would soar to the peak of the first wave if Mr Johnson ploughed ahead with the roadmap on June 21.

He warned that there were "millions of younger adults who have not been vaccinated" - but that 23 and 24-year-olds could book jabs from today.

And he warned that "sadly", some elderly and vulnerable may still get ill, even if they have had two jabs.

Yet he signalled hope for relaxing all rules on July 19, saying he was hopeful he would not need to delay again and it would be the "terminus date".

By 19 July, all those aged 50 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable will have been offered their second dose.

And today a health chief announced all over 18s will be offered a Covid vaccine by the end of this week.

It will be the last group of adults invited to get their jab, less than seven months after the programme started.

It comes after it was revealed two Covid jabs stops hospitalisation from the Delta variant by up to 96 per cent.

Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca's vaccines are hugely effective against severe illness when double dosed, encouraging new data revealed yesterday.

Vaccines Minister, Nadhim Zahawi said: “I am delighted that we have reached another poignant milestone in our vaccines programme, with over 30 million people receiving the fullest possible protection from this virus.

“I encourage everyone to come forward for the vaccine, and for the crucial second dose when the offer comes. It could save your life and protect your loved ones.”

But, hundreds of daily Covid deaths are still likely even after Britain's lockdown lift delay, a Sage expert warned this morning.

Professor Graham Medley also suggested the removal of restrictions could be reversed if hospital numbers rise.

The expert, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), told BBC Radio 4: "Although the numbers of deaths are low at the moment, everyone expects that they will rise.

"The question is really as to what level they will rise. And at the moment there is a lot of uncertainty in what's going to happen over the next couple of months."

He added: "It is possible we could end up with a situation whereby the numbers of people going to hospital, really mean that the Government have to take some kind of action that they don't want to.

"But I think that's always been the case - Government has always taken action to that it didn't want to, it never wanted to lockdown."

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