BORIS Johnson has warned Brits to be “cautious” as they enjoy hugs, indoor meals and holidays for the first time this year TODAY.
In a major milestone on the road to normality, hugs are allowed again and pubs and restaurants can reopen indoors – but all Brits “must play their part” and be responsible.
The PM said: “Together we have reached another milestone in our roadmap out of lockdown, but we must take this next step with a heavy dose of caution. We are keeping the spread of the variant first identified in India under close observation and taking swift action where infection rates are rising.”
Meanwhile, health secretary Matt Hancocks aid that, from tomorrow, over 35s will start to be invited for their first vaccine dose – but experts warn the easing of restrictions Monday may see the mutant strain spread further.
Mr Hancock also said there are now more than 1,300 cases of the Indian variant in the UK, warning it is now “the dominant strain” in areas including Bolton and Blackburn.
And he said the country faces a “race between the vaccination programme and the virus” amid fears it will spread elsewhere – with the Indian variant having “given the virus some extra legs in that race”.
Meanwhile, the government plans to vaccinate one million people a day as ‘Covid hit squads’ target India variant hotspots across the country. By using a stockpile of 3.2 million vaccines, daily doses will be ramped up from 500,000 to 800,000 within a fortnight, according to the Telegraph.
Reading our coronavirus live blog below for up to the minute updates…