Health experts have asked the government to postpone the final phase of England’s closure plan after 8,125 new cases were reported in the UK in the last 24 hours, the highest daily increase since 26 February.
There were a further 17 Covid deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to the latest government data released on Friday.
The UK’s reproduction rate for viruses – or R numbers – has also risen from 1.2 to 1.4, the Department of Health has said, meaning that every tenth person with Covid-19 passes it on to between 12 and 14 others.
As of Friday, vaccination data show that 29.1 million people in the UK have received both doses, while 41 million have received a single dose.
Recent figures show that medical experts called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to postpone the government’s planned lifting of the last remaining public health restrictions on 21 June.
The Chairman of the British Medical Association Council, Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, said that only 54.2% of adults who are fully vaccinated would lift all restrictions “premature” and lead to an increase in infections.
Data show that removal of all health measures in 10 days would not meet the government’s own tests, he said, adding that it was crucial Johnson “Honors its own commitment to the people on how to protect the health of the nation.”
The vice president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, Jim McManus, told BBC Radio 4s Today program that abandoning the restrictions could lead to an increase in infections and thus a “An increase in admissions”.
The government has said it will share the new data on Monday when it is expected to make a decision on when it will lift the final restrictions.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock previously warned that the Delta variant, first discovered in India, is promoting the rise in cases. The strain, which is up to 60% more transmissible than Britain’s Alpha variant, now accounts for 91% of all new cases, Hancock said on Thursday.
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