Coronavirus UK news LIVE – June 21 lockdown lift less likely than EVER despite covid causing fewer serious illnesses

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.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates…

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    MORE THAN 7 MILLION JABS GIVEN IN LONDON SINCE DECEMBER

    NHS England data shows a total of 7,333,382 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and June 5, including 4,534,137 first doses and 2,799,245 second doses.

    This compares with 6,309,144 first doses and 4,568,797 second doses given to people in the Midlands, a total of 10,877,941.

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    WATCH: TONY BLAIR BACKS VACCINE PASSPORTS

    UK needs to ‘distinguish’ between people who have and haven’t had the Covid vaccine, Tony Blair says

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    YOUNG BRITS QUEUE FOR THREE HOURS FOR JAB

    Young Brits queues for three hours to get a jab yesterday.

    Crowds of people lined up along the seafront in South Ayrshire.

    The town’s drop-in centre offered under-30s vaccines until 6pm tonight in a bid to lower infections.

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    FAUCI 'KNEW' COVID CAME FROM A LAB LAST SPRING, FORMER FDA CHIEF CLAIMS

    Anthony Fauci told foreign health leaders that coronavirus could've escaped from the Wuhan lab last spring despite telling Americans that it came from a bat, former head of the FDA Scott Gottlieb claims.

    Biden's top coronavirus chief remains under fire after a raft of bombshell emails suggested he downplayed the lab leak theory at the early stages of the pandemic.

    Scott Gottlieb, former chief of the Food and Drugs Administration, claimed Fauci briefed health experts in Europe last spring that Covid could've originated in a lab before shutting the argument down.

    Fauci, who has drastically altered his stance on the origins of the pandemic, then told National Geographic last May there was "no evidence" that the bug originated in a Chinese laboratory.

    Gottlieb told CBS yesterday: "I think early on when they looked at the strain, they had suspicions.

    "And it takes time to do that analysis and that dispelled some of those suspicions."

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    UK COVID CASES RISE BY 65% IN A WEEK WITH 5,341 MORE INFECTIONS WITH FEARS JUNE 21 FINAL FREEDOM WILL BE DELAYED

    COVID cases in the UK have risen by 65 per cent in a week with 5,341 infections reported today amid fears “Freedom Day” could be delayed.

    The latest number of cases brings the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 4,516,892. A further four deaths have also been reported with the total now at 127,840.

    Today’s cases are up from last Saturday when 3,240 new infections were recorded. But it is lower than yesterday’s rise of 5,765 cases and 13 Covid deaths.

    The figures also show a total of 67,994,584 vaccinations have been adminstered.

    Of these, 40,333,231 people have received a first dose and 27,661,353 are doubly protected.

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    KAY BURLEY RETURNS TO SKY NEWS AFTER SUSPENSION

    Sky News presenter Kay Burley has returned to work after being suspended for six months for breaking Covid-19 rules.

    The journalist said it was "great to be back" as she introduced Monday morning's show, featuring interviews with former prime minister Gordon Brown, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy.

    Burley was suspended from the channel in December after making "a big mistake" and "pulling" her colleagues into breaking coronavirus restrictions while celebrating her 60th birthday at a restaurant in London, which was then in Tier 2 restrictions.

    Starting the broadcast at 7am, she said: "Hello everybody, it is great to be back. It is seven o'clock here in the UK. Welcome wherever you're watching us around the world. Let's crack on."

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    HANCOCK HATH NO FURY

    Matt Hancock has lashed back at Dominic Cummings for his "completely wrong" claims he lied to the PM about care home testing.

    The fuming Health secretary hit out after being accused of misleading Boris Johnson and the public over the pandemic response.

    Mr Cummings said the health secretary should've been sacked at least 15 times for failing to tell the truth.

    But asked if he'd always been honest, Mr Hancock blasted back: "Yes of course I have, both in private and in public. That's how I approached the whole thing, so these allegations are completely wrong."

    Pressed on whether he told the PM back in March that people being sent to care homes from hospitals were being tested when he knew they weren't, he replied: "No, I did not." And when it was put to him that Mr Cummings surely knew what was going on at the time, he jibed: "Well, maybe he should have."

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    TOO EARLY TO DETERMINE JUNE RESTRICTIONS LIFT, SAYS MATT HANCOCK

    Matt Hancock says Boris Johnson will examine Covid stats this week to help him make a decision. The Health Secretary said it was “too early” to determine whether the Government would lift all coronavirus restrictions later this month.

    He also admitted the Indian variant had made the decisions behind the June 21 unlocking “more difficult” as he confirmed the mutation is 40 per cent more transmissible than the Kent variant.

    Asked whether he had seen anything in the data that could delay reopening this month, Mr Hancock told Sky News: “It is too early to make a final decision on that.

    “The Prime Minister and I and the team will be looking at all of the data over this week. We have said that we will give people enough time ahead of the June 21 date which is pencilled in as the next step – which is to be not before June 21 – and the critical thing is to see whether the four tests we have set have been met.

    “That’s because the third test, the rollout of the vaccine, is going incredibly well. Then, of course, we have to look at the impact of new variants and we have seen a very significant impact of a new variant – the Delta (also known as the Indian) variant – over the last month or so.”

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    U.S. ADMINISTERS 301.6 MILLION DOSES OF COVID-19 VACCINES

    The United States has administered 301,638,578 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country and distributed 371,520,735 doses as of Sunday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

    Those figures are up from the 300,268,730 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by June 5 out of 371,520,975 doses delivered.

    The agency said 170,833,221 people had received at least one dose while 138,969,323 people are fully vaccinated as of Sunday.

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    JUNE 21 FREEDOM DAY COULD BE DELAYED TO JULY 5 ‘TO MAKE SURE ALL OVER 50S WILL RECEIVE SECOND VACCINE’

    ‘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 to July 5.

    Correspondent Richard Pallot said: “Government sources have again stressed that no decision has been made but I understand that in private other plans are being drawn up.

    “If there was a two-week delay then in theory all over 50s would get a chance of a second vaccine.”

    More than 40 million Brits have now had a first jab but the Indian variant is surging.

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BORIS JOHNSON YET TO MAKE A DECISION OVER LIFTING COVID RESTRICTIONS ON JUNE 21

    The PM's is set to make a decision about the end of restrictions date, June 21, with the government examining the Covid stats this week to in order to give the go ahead or not.

    The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said it was "too early" to determine whether the government would delay it or not.

    However, sources told ITV News that plans are being made to push it back to July 5.

    Correspondent Richard Pallot said: “Government sources have again stressed that no decision has been made but I understand that in private other plans are being drawn up.

  • Joseph Gamp

    WATCH: TRAVELLING TO MANCHESTER MORE DANGEROUS THAN FLYING TO PORTUGAL OR SPAIN, SAYS COVID EXPERT AS BRITS RUSH BACK FROM FARO

    Travelling to Manchester more dangerous than flying to Portugal or Spain, says Covid expert as Brits rush back from Faro

  • Joseph Gamp

    TONY BLAIR ON VACCINE PASSPORTS (CONTINUED…)

    Mr Blair’s remarks came as it emerged that 13.5 million first and second doses of a Covid-19 vaccine were given out in May, setting a new monthly record.

    It’s also been announced that Brits in their twenties will start being called for their vaccine this week.

    He said today on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that “it makes no sense at all to treat those who have had vaccination the same as those who haven’t”.

  • Joseph Gamp

    VACCINATED BRITS SHOULD BE GIVEN NEW FREEDOM PASS FOR ‘VACCINE-ONLY’ RESTAURANTS AND SPORTS STADIUMS, SAYS TONY BLAIR

    NEW digital passes and “vaccine-only” venues should be available to Brits who are double-jabbed, says Tony Blair.

    The former Prime Minister is calling for those who have had both jabs to be treated differently from those who have not and relaxing measures for the double-jabbed will provide a powerful incentive.

    Mr Blair’s remarks came as it emerged that 13.5 million first and second doses of a Covid-19 vaccine were given out in May, setting a new monthly record.

    It’s also been announced that Brits in their twenties will start being called for their vaccine this week.

    He said today on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that “it makes no sense at all to treat those who have had vaccination the same as those who haven’t”.

  • Joseph Gamp

    CONTINUED…

    According to China specialist Jasper Becker, if China did own up then the consequences would be enormous for the regime and President Xi Jinping.

    “The national shame might spell the end of the Chinese Communist Party's 70-year rule,” he wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

    “It would start a political earthquake which would begin in China and upend the world order.”

    But he added of China did admit liability then as well as the humiliation, it would on the hook for huge compensation.

    “The truth is that Beijing is never likely to accept responsibility for creating a new virus, allowing it to escape and unleashing a global pandemic that has so far killed more than 3.5 million people,” he said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    TRUTH ABOUT COVID-19 ORIGINS ‘WOULD BRING ‘NATIONAL SHAME’ TO CHINA AND COULD TOPPLE THE COMMUNIST PARTY’

    THE truth Covid’s origins could bring national shame to China and topple the country’s Communist regime, a leading expert on the country has said.

    Suspicion is growing that the deadly virus may have leaked from a lab in Wuhan, where research was being carried out into coronaviruses in bats.

    What was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory has gained traction to the extent that President Joe Biden has ordered US spies to investigate.

    British intelligence has also reportedly recently assessed the theory and upgraded its likeliness from "remote" to "feasible".

    China’s refusal to allow a full investigation and increasingly shrill denials have fuelled suspicion that it is seeking to cover up culpability.

  • Joseph Gamp

    GRAPH: UK COVID-19 CASES AND DEATHS PER DAY

  • Joseph Gamp

    MORE THAN HALF OF PEOPLE ‘HOPING TO ATTEND LIVE EVENTS IN NEXT 12 MONTHS’

    More than half (59%) of people are hoping to attend big events such as a music concert, a festival, a comedy or theatre show, or live sports in the next 12 months, a survey has found.

    On average, they hope to attend two big events over the next year – one less than before the coronavirus pandemic, according to Nationwide Building Society.

    More than three-quarters (78%) of people who go to large events book their tickets online, the society found.

    On average, people expect to spend £168 attending a live event, including the cost of the ticket, plus additional expenses such as travel, food and accommodation.

    James Smith, Nationwide’s director of digital, said: “The nation is already eager to get back out there and see their favourite band, team or idol in the flesh.

    “That eagerness can bring with it a rush to book tickets, and sometimes at the expense of our own safety and security.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    SO-CALLED ‘NEPAL VARIANT’ SPARKS CONCERN

    It comes after a Public Health England report showed people who tested positive for the Indian variant – also known as the Delta variant – were at 161 per cent more risk of needing hospital treatment within 14 days.

    Experts warned the Indian Covid mutation could be 100 per cent more infectious than the Kent variant, which caused the country to lockdown in January.

    The “Nepal variant” found in Britain – a mutated version of the Indian variant ripping through the country – has also sparked concern.

    And the crucial R rate is also as high as 1.2 according to Sage — meaning the virus is up again.

  • Joseph Gamp

    VACCINES: REGIONAL BREAKDOWNS ON JAB TOTALS

    The breakdown for the other regions is:

    • East of England: 4,021,219 first doses and 2,825,717 second doses, making 6,846,936 in total
    • North East and Yorkshire: 5,249,506 first and 3,710,125 second doses (8,959,631)
    • North West: 4,271,728 first and 2,991,809 second doses (7,263,537)
    • South East: 5,493,356 first and 3,851,918 second doses (9,345,274)
    • South West: 3,562,593 first and 2,680,319 second doses (6,242,912)

    MORE THAN 7 MILLION JABS GIVEN IN LONDON SINCE DECEMBER

    NHS England data shows a total of 7,333,382 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and June 5, including 4,534,137 first doses and 2,799,245 second doses.

    This compares with 6,309,144 first doses and 4,568,797 second doses given to people in the Midlands, a total of 10,877,941.

    • Joseph Gamp

      YOUNG BRITS QUEUE FOR THREE HOURS FOR JAB

      Young Brits queues for three hours to get a jab today.

      Crowds of people lined up along the seafront in South Ayrshire.

      The town’s drop-in centre offered under-30s vaccines until 6pm tonight in a bid to lower infections.

    • Joseph Gamp

      UK COVID CASES RISE BY 65% IN A WEEK WITH 5,341 MORE INFECTIONS WITH FEARS JUNE 21 FINAL FREEDOM WILL BE DELAYED

      COVID cases in the UK have risen by 65 per cent in a week with 5,341 infections reported today amid fears “Freedom Day” could be delayed.

      The latest number of cases brings the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 4,516,892. A further four deaths have also been reported with the total now at 127,840.

      Today’s cases are up from last Saturday when 3,240 new infections were recorded. But it is lower than yesterday’s rise of 5,765 cases and 13 Covid deaths.

      The figures also show a total of 67,994,584 vaccinations have been adminstered.

      Of these, 40,333,231 people have received a first dose and 27,661,353 are doubly protected.

    • Joseph Gamp

      JUNE 21 FREEDOM DAY COULD BE DELAYED TO JULY 5 ‘TO MAKE SURE ALL OVER 50S WILL RECEIVE SECOND VACCINE’

      ‘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 to July 5.

      Correspondent Richard Pallot said: “Government sources have again stressed that no decision has been made but I understand that in private other plans are being drawn up.

      “If there was a two-week delay then in theory all over 50s would get a chance of a second vaccine.”

      More than 40 million Brits have now had a first jab but the Indian variant is surging.

      Read more here.

    • Joseph Gamp

      MORE THAN HALF OF PEOPLE 'HOPING TO ATTEND LIVE EVENTS IN NEXT 12 MONTHS'

      More than half (59%) of people are hoping to attend big events such as a music concert, a festival, a comedy or theatre show, or live sports in the next 12 months, a survey has found.

      On average, they hope to attend two big events over the next year – one less than before the coronavirus pandemic, according to Nationwide Building Society.

      More than three-quarters (78%) of people who go to large events book their tickets online, the society found.

      On average, people expect to spend £168 attending a live event, including the cost of the ticket, plus additional expenses such as travel, food and accommodation.

      James Smith, Nationwide's director of digital, said: "The nation is already eager to get back out there and see their favourite band, team or idol in the flesh.

      "That eagerness can bring with it a rush to book tickets, and sometimes at the expense of our own safety and security."

      Source: Read Full Article