United Kingdom

UK faces 100,000 cases EVERY DAY by July as Indian Covid variant drives up infections

Britain faces 100,000 Covid cases every day by July, scientists have warned, and Boris Johnson has been told by ministers that lockdown rules will remain until next spring unless he can see off pressure to delay Freedom Day.

The PM all-but confirmed June 20 would be pushed back to July 19 on Saturday as Covid cases continued to rise by more than a third over last week to 7,738 - the second-highest daily figure since February after they exceeded 8,000 on Friday.

'We are seeing some worrying stuff in the data, clearly. We are seeing the Delta (Indian) variant causing an increase in cases, we are seeing an increase in hospitalisations,' Mr Johnson said.

Around 90 per cent of new infections are now the Indian variant and cases are doubling every nine days.

Independent SAGE's Anthony Costello, of University College London, said the true daily infection figure was likely more than double the 8,000 recorded in tests.

He told The Mirror: 'In a month you'll be up to 100,000 new cases a day. If the Government takes a gamble and lets rip like Tory backbenchers want, the NHS will be overloaded. Let's wait. Let's stay as we are.'  

The surge in cases caused by the Indian variant has yet to be reflected in death figures, which remained low on Saturday, falling from 13 last week to 12.  

And Britain's vaccine roll-out continued at pace, with 202,846 first doses dished out. It takes the total number of people to have received a first dose to just under 41.3million — 78.4. per cent of the population.

Another 285,513 second doses were also given yesterday, taking the total number of fully protected adults to 29.5million. 

But the PM remained cautious in Cornwall, saying: 'The whole point of having an irreversible road map is to do it cautiously and that's what we are going to do. I know people are impatient to hear more but you will be hearing the full picture on Monday.'

Tory ministers have warned Mr Johnson that a delay will leave a 'very short window to open up,' with further push-backs leading to a full reopening only next spring - when winter pressures on the NHS have abated.

The minister told The Telegraph: 'I am very worried the people who want to keep us shut down now want us to keep us shut down permanently and are aiming for "zero Covid".

'Once you start delaying to the spring you're making this type of control of people's lives semi-permanent.' 

Boris Johnson (pictured meeting South Korea's President Moon Jae-in at the G7 summit in Cornwall today) is expected to confirm the Freedom Day delay at a press conference on Monday

Ministers believe the backlash from Tory MPs and the public should be limited as long as the timetable does not slip beyond the school holidays. 

A poll today suggested that just a third of Britons want the total lifting of restrictions to go ahead as originally laid out. 

Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the government's Nervtag advisory group, said the emergence of an 'even more successful' variant of the disease was 'such a disappointing setback'. It seems to be around 60 per cent more transmissible than the Kent 'Alpha' strain.

'It really has gone up another gear and that means that we really have to double down and not lose all the advantage that has been gained by the massive effort that has been put in so far,' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.  

Cases of the Indian variant have been rising sharply, and the British Medical Association is among those calling for a delay to allow more people to receive their second jabs. 

Airlines slash schedules until end of July amid Freedom Day delay

Airlines have started shrinking their schedules until late July as the government plans to push Freedom Day back by a month.

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet are cancelling flights until after the new July 19 date as demand plummets.

Virgin Atlantic pushed back journeys from Heathrow to Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago until October as well as transatlantic flights until mid-July.

Budget airline easyJet started dropping trips to Greece and France as Britons face a second summer trapped at home.

Meanwhile Stobart Air, which operates regional services for Aer Lingus, this morning ceased trading due to a lack of demand. 

Under the PM's Covid roadmap, June 21 was supposed to be the day when all social distancing curbs were lifted and the work-from-home advice abandoned.  

Mike Tildesley, a University of Warwick epidemiologist, said that although cases are going up, because of the success of the vaccine rollout it is not known what effect removing restrictions could have on hospital admissions.

He said: 'We don't want to be slipping into another lockdown. To avoid this we have to be cautious and make sure we get enough data from the government as possible informing what we might expect in a future wave as we start to unlock further.

'I understand people really want to open up as soon as possible but of course what we don't want is a big wave of hospital admissions by doing so so it's a really difficult decision the Government are going to have to make over the next few days.'  

Just 34 per cent of people said they would like life to go back to normal on the day Boris Johnson promised it would, a poll of 1,392 people conducted by YouGov for The Times found.

A separate question in the YouGov poll saw 22 per cent of people dub the rule of six - which currently limits indoor gatherings to just six people - their least favourite lockdown rule and said it should be lifted first. 

A total of 53 per cent of UK voters want some lockdown rules to stay across the UK past June 21 - while 25 per cent want all freedom-limiting legislation to remain.  

In a bid to placate Tory MPs and ministers – including Chancellor Rishi Sunak – who are keen to unleash the economy, the PM is expected to promise a review after a fortnight. That could potentially could allow curbs to be ditched earlier if hospital admissions remain low. 

But UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: 'The Government has a balance to strike but due to the amazing efforts of the NHS in rolling out vaccines, it is time to lift the restrictions that are crushing businesses.

'A full and final ending of restrictions is the only way to ensure that businesses in this sector can trade profitably. If Government decides it has to keep some restrictions in place after June 21, then it must prioritise those that do the least damage to business and commit to further supporting the sector. 

'Confidence has been shaken so it is imperative that Government postpones business rates payments until at least October and extend the rent and debt moratoria for hospitality businesses while a long-term solution to Covid arrears is found.'

In a significant intervention, the British Medical Association called on Mr Johnson to hold off until more people had received both doses of the vaccine.

Its council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the figures showed more time was needed to get the vaccine to more people.

'With only 54.2 per cent of the adult population currently fully vaccinated and many younger people not yet eligible, there is a huge risk that prematurely relaxing all restrictions will undo the excellent work of the vaccine programme and lead to a surge of infections,' he said.

Weddings could still get an exemption, with the 30-person cap on guests lifted on June 21 to allow the big weddings that many couples have booked to go ahead.

However, the delay to lifting the remainder of the curbs – which ban nightclubs opening, limit crowds at theatres and sporting events, restrict capacity indoors at pubs and restaurants and prevent people meeting in large groups – is likely to enrage many MPs, hospitality leaders and business chiefs.

The Mail revealed this week that Mr Sunak had told Mr Johnson he could live with a delay of 'a week or two' but would resist any further slippage as this could involve extending the furlough scheme.

Nightclubs and bars have threatened to sue the Government if the planned lifting of restrictions is postponed.  

England's coronavirus R rate is higher than at any time since October at a minimum of 1.2 and possible high of 1.4, SAGE estimated yesterday

Public Health England data show how it took just a matter of weeks for the Indian 'Delta' variant to smash past the Kent strain and take over as dominant in England, with it surging to make up 96 per cent of cases in just nine weeks

The Office for National Statistics' weekly infection survey suggested England's outbreak grew by only 13 per cent last week to 96,800 total cases - compared to a near-doubling 75 per cent surge the week before

The R rate is highest in the North West, where it could be as high as 1.5. The region is the Indian variant hotspot and cases there have exploded in the past fortnight. A quarter of all the 7,400 cases announced in the UK yesterday were in the North West

The move towards delaying June 21 came after the number of cases of the Indian variant – also known as the Delta variant – increased by 240 per cent in a week. 

Public Health England said the infections had risen from 12,431 to 42,323 in the latest seven-day period, an increase of 29,892 cases. The majority of cases appeared to be among the unvaccinated. The R-rate of reproduction also increased yesterday to between 1.2 and 1.4. 

At the G7 summit in Cornwall yesterday, Mr Johnson told fellow world leaders that it was important not to 'repeat some of the errors that we doubtless made in the course of the last 18 months'. The PM has been criticised for not locking down sooner last year.

Kate Nicholls, the boss of UK Hospitality, said: 'Any delay in the roadmap would have a devastating effect on an already fragile hospitality sector.

'A one-month delay would cost the sector £3billion in sales and push many businesses even closer to the cliff edge of failure, meaning more job losses.' 

Public Health England graphs show how the Indian 'Delta' variant (pink) rapidly overtook all other strains of the virus to become dominant in April and May

The North West (dark blue) has been by far the hardest hit region by the new variant while London (yellow) has experienced the second highest number of cases

Most Delta cases have been in young adults and teenagers, who are unvaccinated, while there have been significantly fewer positive tests in older people, particularly over-50s, most of whom have had two doses of a jab. The true test of the vaccine will be whether the age distribution stays this way as the outbreak gets larger

This heat map shows the hotspots for positive test samples that scientists believe are the Delta variant, with the most cases concentrated in the North West around Manchester and Liverpool

The vast majority of cases and hospital admissions triggered by the Delta variant have been in people who were unvaccinated, PHE's data show. The figures show that only one in 10 people admitted to hospital after getting infected with the variant had been given two doses of a vaccine - just 42 out of 383 - while the rest of them had either had one jab or none at all. Twelve out of 42 people to have died of the strain had been vaccinated and just 1,785 out of 33,206 infections were in double-jabbed people

No10's top scientific advisers have estimated England's coronavirus R rate is higher than at any time since last October and could now be 1.4.  

Government critics were taken aback by 'terrible' data showing how the Delta variant is taking over so quickly and threatening a third wave of hospital admissions.

The PHE figures show that the number of positive tests linked back to the strain more than tripled from 12,431 to 42,323 in just a week. 

Part of this increase was down to an improved testing system that speeds up the process of working out which variant someone is infected with, PHE said, but cases are rising in the real world, too.

The variant was only discovered in April but already accounts for 96 per cent of all positives, which is likely down to the fact that it is an estimated 64 per cent more transmissible than the Kent strain was. 

Experts say it appears better equipped to latch onto cells in people's airways meaning less exposure is needed to trigger an infection. 

Children SHOULD be vaccinated against Covid says Professor Peter Openshaw who advises ministers on the pandemic 

A Government adviser has urged ministers to consider vaccinating school-aged children to protect them from coronavirus.

Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), revealed 'on balance' he has come to the view children need to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Experts are still divided on whether Britain should begin vaccinating children this summer, with some insisting it would help deal with the Indian variant but critics suggesting supplies should be used to squash the pandemic abroad first. 

But Professor Openshaw said because children are now spreading the Delta variant, first discovered in India, in schools the case for vaccination is stronger.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'A lot of people are sitting on the fence about this but I think on balance I'm coming to the view that vaccination of children – there's a very strong argument there.'

Professor Peter Openshaw (pictured), a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), revealed 'on balance' he has come to the view children need to be vaccinated against Covid-19

He said the vaccine was safe for children, while prolonged symptoms of coronavirus meant one in ten sufferers have not fully recovered.   

He added: 'Originally with the Wuhan strain it didn't seem there was very much amplification of the epidemic going on amongst people who were at school in contrast to what we know about influenza, where schools are often the major driver of spread. 

'But with these more transmissible variants it is evident that they are being transmitted much more amongst young adults and school children and even younger children and that seems perhaps to be a change in the biological quality of the infection. 

'It's still fortunately not causing very high disease rates amongst those kids but it does strengthen the argument against vaccination.'

He said the Government 'absolutely needs to have the discussion' as research proves the 'safety and efficacy in terms of generating an antibody response in children'.

Professor Openshaw said because children are now spreading the Delta variant, first discovered in India, in schools the case for vaccination is stronger. Pictured, a teenager, aged 16, is given the vaccine

He added: 'We're also quite concerned about the prolonged symptoms that some people do experience after acute infection and there is a sort of u-shaped curve in the perception of recovery from Covid in that older people and also much younger people don't feel perfectly back to full health after covid. 

'1 in 10 are getting prolonged symptoms and I think that's another argument for extending vaccination.'

Meanwhile, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) last week approved Pfizer's Covid vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds.

But no decision has yet been taken on whether to extend the rollout to under-18s once all adults have been offered a jab.

And there are now concerns in the US that the Pfizer jab might have health risks for children that outweigh the benefits, with officials there fearing around 200 cases of heart damage among under-30s could have been linked to the jab.

He said the Government 'absolutely needs to have the discussion' as research proves the 'safety and efficacy in terms of generating an antibody response in children' (file image)

The MHRA said it has not seen any such cases in the UK but the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that young adults or children should not be given the AstraZeneca jab unless it's the only option because of a small blood clot risk.

The JCVI is expected to tell ministers the move to give jabs to children would be a 'political decision'.

Scientists claim rolling out the vaccine to children would help crack down on the rampant spread of the Delta variant.

Cases of the mutant strain have more than tripled in a week to 42,000 and the strain appears to be spreading 64 per cent faster than the Kent variant. 

Dr Simon Clarke (left) said vaccinating children or teenagers 'can only help' to control the spread of the coronavirus while Professor David Livermore (right) said it was ethically difficult because children were not the ones being protected by their own jabs

Dr Simon Clarke, a cellular microbiologist at the University of Reading, told MailOnline vaccinating all children would ensure they do not spread the variant further, particularly to older people whose immunity from vaccines earlier in the year could be on the wane. 

He said: 'We don't yet know how much if any of the Indian variant has gone through schools but undeniably children, particularly teenagers, are potential vectors for spreading it round.


Britain's medical regulator yesterday revealed it has not yet detected any link between Pfizer and Moderna's Covid vaccines and heart damage, despite US officials calling an urgent meeting over growing fears there is a connection.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which polices the safety of drugs in the UK, said it is 'closely monitoring reports of myocarditis and pericarditis received with the Covid vaccines'. 

It has recorded just 34 cases of myocarditis after Pfizer jabs — a similar number to after the AstraZeneca vaccine — and only two after Moderna, but says numbers 'similar or below expected background levels'.

Meanwhile, US health chiefs have announced officials will gather on June 18 to discuss 226 plausible cases of heart inflammation in under-30s given the jabs in America. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bosses yesterday admitted the number of cases was higher than expected and that most were in boys and young men. However, they insisted the complication was still rare.  

Among the cases spotted in the US, three are in intensive care, 15 are hospitalised and 41 have ongoing symptoms. 

The CDC continues to urge everyone aged 12 and older in the US to get vaccinated and says it is not clear if either condition is actually caused by the shots.

The average age for people suffering the condition in the US was 24 — who have yet to begin routinely receiving their jabs in Britain — and comparatively few Moderna doses have been dished out in the UK. 

'So if we can put a firewall in with younger people, then it can only help.' 

But if children were to be invited for jabs, they would be receiving Moderna or Pfizer vaccines — the latter of which is expected to have supply squeezed over the coming month.

Vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi yesterday admitted supply of the American drug manufacturer's jab would be 'tight', which could potentially prevent children being invited this summer with second doses for those who have already had Pfizer being prioritised in the coming months. 

And there are calls to donate supplies abroad to developing nations where the majority of adults have still not had a first dose. 

Dr Clarke said: 'What you've got to remember is there are lots of elderly people in this country who have had the AstraZeneca vaccine.

'That appears to be not as protective certainly against milder disease and transmission.

'There are always going to be a lot of people in this country who — despite doing the right thing and getting their jabs —  are not going to be protected. That's just the way these thing work.

'So the idea that it's okay because we've jabbed everybody, that doesn't mean everyone is fully protected.' 

But jabbing children over the summer would rely on having enough vaccines to dish out.

With thousands of under-30s now receiving jabs after the vaccine roll-out picked up pace, demand for doses of Pfizer has now soared beyond supply levels.

Scottish MP Humza Yousaf told Matt Hancock in a letter that supplies of the jab are to be 'particularly tight over the next few weeks', not just in Scotland but across the UK, according to the i newspaper.

Mr Zahawi admitted supply would fall this month but insisted the UK remains on target to give first doses to all adults by

He told LBC: 'I'm confident that Scotland will be able to meet the target of offering every adult at least one dose by the end of July as we will in England as well.'

MailOnline analysis of official figures shows even with consistent supply and 100 per cent uptake, all adults in the UK may not have received their final inoculation until September 18 — making it difficult to justify handing out first doses to children beforehand.

There are also safety concerns surrounding Pfizer and Moderna's vaccine in young people, particularly men.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US today confirmed it would be meeting to discuss 226 plausible cases of heart inflammation in the UK that have been linked to the companies' jabs.

Experts are divided on whether Britain should begin vaccinating children this summer, with some insisting jabs are safe but critics suggesting supplies should be used to squash the pandemic abroad first

Why children are less affected by Covid-19 

Children are less at risk of developing severe Covid symptoms and dying from the disease due to a host of differences between the bodies and immune systems of youngsters and adults, a study shows.

Australian researchers have identified several specific physiological differences which may explain why Covid-19 is rarely severe or fatal in children.

These include strong, undamaged cells in their blood vessels which prevent inflammation and clotting; elevated levels of vitamin D; an immune system that is both fast acting and well-oiled; and fewer ACE2 receptors, which the coronavirus uses to infect cells.

While Covid-19 causes well-documented respiratory problems in adults, particularly the vulnerable and elderly, other respiratory conditions also plague children.

However, society's youngest are demonstrably less affected by coronavirus infection, making up only a tiny proportion of cases, hospital admissions and deaths.

A recent study from the US looked at hospital admissions of children at seven different hospitals and found just just four per cent of children test positive for the virus.

The research looked at tests of more than 135,000 children who went to hospital for various reasons before September 8.

It revealed only 5,374 (4.0 per cent) of patients tested positive and, of this small percentage, only 359 (6.7 per cent) were hospitalised, with 99 in intensive care.

Eight of the infected patients (0.15 per cent) later died. Six of the deaths were patients with 'complex preexisting comorbidities', the scientists say.

But why this is the case has thus far remained a mystery, with scientists and doctors trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. 

The condition was seen most among people aged 24 and younger and the CDC admitted the number was higher than expected.

UK faces shortage of Pfizer vaccines throughout June

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi yesterday admitted that supply of the Pfizer vaccine will be tight over the next few weeks but insisted that it was 'stable'.

It comes after Scotland's Health Secretary Humza Yousaf warned supply of the Pfizer vaccine will be 'particularly tight' over the next few weeks.

Mr Zahawi told LBC: 'I am absolutely confident, and I'll speak to Humza on this, that we will be able to deliver the Pfizer vaccines that Scotland needs to be able to meet its targets for end of July, as the United Kingdom target.'

Asked if it is going to be 'tight' in the next few weeks, he said: 'It will be, there is no doubt. Every time I've come on your show I've said that the determining factor in terms of vaccine in arms is supply.

'And supply remains finite, but it is stable, and Pfizer have done a great job in being consistent on their delivery schedule.'

But there is no evidence to suggest the condition was definitely caused by the jabs and the MHRA said numbers 'similar or below expected background levels' in the UK.

Nevertheless, there are legitimate concerns around safety, especially considering giving out vaccines to youngsters mainly serves to benefit adults rather than the children themselves, according to Professor David Livermore, microbiologist at the University of East Anglia. 

Professor Livermore told MailOnline: 'The argument against vaccinating children is ethical. 

'Children don't get severe Covid and so aren't being vaccinated for their own protection. 

'And, whilst the speed with which vaccines have been developed is a great credit to the pharma industry, it is inevitable that that they haven't been through such extensive evaluation as normally required for a vaccine.' 

But he added vaccinating children would 'boost the level of herd immunity in the population'.

He said: 'It would prevent schools becoming reservoirs for the virus, which might spread back to the minority of unvaccinated adults or those with waning immunity.'

Experts have also called for the UK to donate the doses that could be earmarked for children to developing nations that are significantly lagging behind in their rollouts.

Britain on Thursday said it would give at least 100million surplus vaccines to the world's poorest nations. Mr Zahawi said the donations would not affect the domestic vaccine program.

He said: 'No doses that are required for Scotland, for Northern Ireland, for Wales, for England are being taken away by our announcement [on donating vaccines].'

Where else have myocarditis and pericarditis been linked to Covid vaccines or Pfizer been banned for teenagers?


Israel was one of the first to warn of health concerns linked to the Pfizer vaccine. 

The country claimed in early June that its research showed Pfizer's vaccine is the 'probable' cause of heart inflammation in a very small number of people who get the jab.

The Health Ministry had found 148 cases of myocarditis soon after the patient had been vaccinated. 

In total, 275 cases were spotted among the more than five million people given the Pfizer jab in Israel, which has had one of the world's most successful jab rollouts. 

In the remaining 127 cases, it is unclear if they are linked to the vaccine.

This was equivalent to just 0.005 per cent of recipients, or one in 20,000 people. 

For the 148 cases 'probably' linked to the jab, the rate was 0.003 per cent — although half of them had other underlying health problems.  


At least one health official in Canada has also linked the Pfizer vaccine to heart inflammation.

Dr Peter Liu, chief scientific officer at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and an expert in myocarditis, last week said he has seen two cases he believes are linked to vaccination over the last month. 

He told the Ottawa Citizen: 'One can never be sure, but it is more than coincidental.

'We are learning more about this every day.' 


The European Medicines Agency confirmed in May it was looking into cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in people who had received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

It said: 'There is no indication at the moment that these cases are due to the vaccine.'

Germany's vaccine advisory committee, known as STIKO, yesterday recommended only children and adolescents with pre-existing conditions should be given the Pfizer vaccine.

STIKO said it recommends a vaccination only for those youngsters with an illness that raises their risk of a serious case of coronavirus.

It said it was not currently recommending the use of the vaccine for those aged 12 to 17 without pre-existing conditions, although noted doctors were allowed to give the shot if the individual accepts the risk.

Germany has said it plans to offer shots to children as young as 12 from June after the European health regulator authorised the vaccine for use in adolescents last month.

STIKO committee member Ruediger von Kriess, a paediatrics professor, said previously it might be preferable to endorse the vaccine for use in children only if they have risk factors given the lack of data on long-term effects.

EU countries agree to ease summer travel curbs so fully vaccinated tourists can avoid tests or quarantines... but not British holidaymakers

EU countries have agreed to ease summer travel restrictions that will allow fully vaccinated tourists to avoid tests or quarantines – but not British holidaymakers.

People who have been fully vaccinated for 14 days should be able to travel freely from one EU country to another, according to a proposal approved by ambassadors from the 27 members.

Restrictions for other travellers should be based on the degree to which the country they are coming from has coronavirus infections under control.

EU leaders have agreed a system of Covid passports allowing fully vaccinated citizens to travel this summer

British people have not been included in the EU scheme due to the growing threat of the Indian variant

Thanks to the spread of the Indian variant, that means the UK is currently off the list of approved countries.

The guidelines come as the EU introduces Covid certificates which will show whether a person is vaccinated, has had the virus or had a recent negative test. The system is set to be ready by July 1, although some countries will launch certificates earlier.

Non-EU members of the Schengen zone, such as Iceland and Norway, will also be able to take advantage of the scheme. 

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