Coronavirus news UK latest: Government ‘open’ to June 21 DELAY as Delta variant sees Covid cases rise 65% in a week

THE Government is “absolutely open” to delaying the June 21 lockdown lift – with Britain’s full freedom hanging in the balance

Matt Hancock on Sunday stressed that June 21 was a “not before” date and that it was only “pencilled in” as the next step out of lockdown.

Mr Hancock admitted the emergence of the Indian variant had made the “calculation” on whether to proceed with unlocking this month “more difficult”.

He also revealed the latest scientific advice is that the mutation – also known as the Delta variant – is 40% more transmissible than the Kent strain and implied that social distancing could continue beyond the final stage of the Prime Minister’s road map

It comes after it was claimed the Government is “drawing up other options” before deciding on whether a June 21 end to Covid restrictions will still go ahead.

‘Freedom Day’ on June 21 could be delayed to July 5 in an effort to make sure all those aged over 50 receive a second vaccine. Sources told ITV News that plans are being made to push it back by two weeks.

It comes as recent data suggests the mutation is twice as likely to cause hospitalisation, as June 21’s “Freedom Day” hangs in the balance. A Public Health England report showed that people who tested positive for the Indian coronavirus variant were at 161% higher risk of needing hospital treatment within 14 days.

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