Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Britain on Friday reported 8,125 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily total since February.

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hopes of ending England’s coronavirus lockdown on June 21 hung in the balance on Friday as data showed a further rise in cases of the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

Mr. Johnson is due to announce on Monday whether the planned lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, which would see an end to limits on social contact, can go ahead on time.

But the rapid spread of the Delta variant, officially a “variant of concern”, has thrown those plans into jeopardy, prompting speculation that the June 21 date will be pushed back, or that some restrictions will remain.

Story continues below advertisement

“We have to be really careful. We had a very big opening on the 17th of May where people could meet friends indoors, in a restaurant, in a pub, and socialize indoors as well,” COVID-19 vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told Times Radio.

“And I think it’s important that we look at the data very carefully over this weekend and then share it with the nation.”

Total British cases of the Delta variant, first identified in India, have jumped by 29,892 to 42,323, Public Health England said on Friday, adding that the variant currently accounted for more than 90 per cent of new COVID-19 cases.

A top British epidemiologist said on Wednesday that the Delta variant is believed to be 60-per-cent more transmissible than the previously dominant Alpha variant. Some scientists have urged a delay to restrictions being eased so more people can receive a second vaccine dose.

A widely watched prevalence survey showed that the number of people with COVID-19 was estimated to have risen in the week to June 5, though not as sharply as the week before.

Britain on Friday reported 8,125 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily total since February, adding that the reproduction “R” number and daily growth rates were also higher in the latest estimates, suggesting the pandemic was growing exponentially.

Mr. Johnson has said that an increase in cases was always expected after the most recent stage of lockdown easing in May, but the key to whether Step 4 can proceed on June 21 will be the extent to which Britain’s vaccine rollout has broken the link between cases and deaths.

Story continues below advertisement

Britain’s total COVID-19 death toll is over 127,000 but the number of daily deaths have fallen following a third national lockdown and a rapid vaccine rollout. More than three-quarters of adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters and editors.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies