UK records highest daily rise in cases since February amid Delta variant surge


Coronavirus case rares in the UK have shot up to their highest levels since late February, fuelling fears that the June 21 lifting of lockdown is in jeopardy.

Britain recorded 8,125 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the highest since February 26 and meaning confirmed infections have risen 58.1 per cent week on week.

A further 17 deaths were reported and hospitalisations remain very low, while Britain has hit the new milestone of 70 million vaccines administered.

It comes as Public Health England warned cases of the Indian/Delta variant are doubling every 4.5 to 11.5 days across English regions, with those infections up 30,000 in a week and the strain now thought to be 60 per cent more infectious than the Kent/Alpha variant.

But just five per cent of Indian variant infections are in people who have been fully vaccinated, with only a fraction ending up in hospital. The variant death rate also remains low, at one in 1,000 people.

It comes amid reports that Downing Street is considering delaying the June 21 lifting of all restrictions by a month, with MPs warning the figures “should set alarm bells ringing in Government”.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the G7 summit in Cornwall that repeating the mistakes of the 2008 financial crash risks a “lasting scar” on society with inequalities “entrenched”, as he predicted leading economies would “bounce back” from lockdown.

A new milestone has been hit in Britain’s vaccine rollout with 70 million Covid-19 vaccines now administered to adults in the UK, the latest figures show.

Some 70,253,625 million doses have now been administered in total. Broken down, that is 41,088,485 million people across the UK now vaccinated with a first dose (78 per cent), while 29,165,140 million people have had both doses (55.4 per cent).

The Government said it remains on track to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July, and NHS England extended the offer of a jab to over-25s this week.

The Italian government announced on Friday it is restricting the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to people over the age of 60, after a teenager who had taken the shot died from an extremely rare blood clot.

Camilla Canepa died on Thursday aged 18 after being given the vaccine on May 25, triggering a storm of controversy in Italy over the Anglo-Swedish brand being given to adults of all ages.

A causal link between the death of Camilla Canepa and the vaccination has not been established, however.

“AstraZeneca will only be used for people over 60,” the country’s special Covid commissioner Francesco Figliuolo told reporters at a news conference.

Scientific and medical experts have repeatedly stressed that the overall benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks of extremely rare side effects.

further 17 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Friday, bringing the UK total to 127,884.—Agencies