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Covid cases in the UK have risen by a staggering 70% in just one week, sparking fears the June 21 easing of lockdown could be delayed.
A further 5,765 infections have been recorded in the latest 24-hour period, with 13 coronavirus-related deaths recorded, bringing the total fatalities since the start of the pandemic to 127,836.
Cases have risen at an alarming rate since last Saturday when 3,398 cases were confirmed and seven deaths were recorded.
Yesterday saw 11 new deaths an 6,328 cases recorded, compared with ten deaths and 4,182 cases on the previous Friday.
Scotland has since recorded its second-highest daily Covid infections since February, with 860, according to the latest figures from the Scottish Government.
Public Health England announced on Thursday that the Indian variant is now thought to be dominant strain in the UK – cases have risen 79% from the previous week.
There are 25 areas in the UK that have seen surge testing deployed to detect both the Indian and South African variants.
Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson warned that the Indian variant could be 100% more transmissible than other strains.
Meanwhile, a staggering 40 million adults (76.1%) in the UK have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, with 51.6% receiving both jabs.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: "Fantastic news that over 40 million people in the UK have been vaccinated against Covid.
"Everyone working on this massive national effort has done an incredible job. When you get the call, get the jab."
In total, a whopping 67,284,864 vaccines have been given to Brits.
This news comes as the June 21 lifting of restrictions faces jeopardy as the country deals with the Indian variant.
One source said would be "irresponsible" to relax the rules too quickly as it could lead to another "full lockdown in autumn".
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Pubs, football fans and holiday bosses have urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stick to his word to lift the lockdown on June 21.
Ministers and officials in government are thought to be working on alternative plans to move what has become known as "Freedom Day" to next month, as well as keeping distancing and limits on fans in sports stadiums.
Kate Nicholls, of UKHospitality said even a two-week delay in coming out of lockdown could cost the battered industry a staggering £1.5 billion.
She said: "This needs to be a full and final unlocking. Our businesses are running out of road, particularly given Government support is withdrawn from June 30."
Boss of pub and brewery giant Greene King, Nick Mackenzie, said how "incredibly important" it is that the Government stick to the plan.
"After the year we’ve had, and the millions the industry has invested in making pubs safe any delay would be a devastating blow," he said.
"Bringing people together to watch the game on the big screen is what we do. Being able to do that again this summer will give us a fighting chance of rebuilding after a crippling 15 months."
People advocating for a delay in easing restrictions have argued that it would allow more Brits to at least have a first vaccine.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of the NHS Providers, says that vaccines have "broken the chain" between catching the virus and becoming seriously ill.
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