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Patience will pay off if easing of coronavirus restrictions is delayed, PM told

The latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England showed case rates have risen in nearly all age groups in England.

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The Government has been told to rethink the June 21 easing of lockdown (Ben Birchall/PA)

The Government has been told to rethink the June 21 easing of lockdown (Ben Birchall/PA)

The Government has been told to rethink the June 21 easing of lockdown (Ben Birchall/PA)

Lifting remaining coronavirus restrictions on June 21 risks an increase in cases and hospital admissions, the Government has been warned.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged to err on the side of caution and delay the next stage of his road map as new figures show case rates have increased in every region in England.

Jim McManus, vice-president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, said data – and not dates – should be behind the final decision, adding: “Patience now will pay off in the long run.”

Separately, The Times reports ministers are considering a four-week delay to a full reopening in England to give businesses and people certainty.

The latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England (PHE), published on Thursday, showed case rates had risen in nearly all age groups in England and more than doubled among 20 to 29-year-olds, going from 54.0 per 100,000 people in the week ending May 30 to 121.0 in the seven days to June 6.

Mr McManus said: “Covid is not going to disappear on the 21st of June and lifting all measures as early as the 21st risks reversing the significant progress we have made.

“The complete lifting of measures on the 21st of June not only risks an increase in cases and hospitalisation, but risks the introduction of new variants to the UK which will undermine our vaccination programme and derail our path back to normality.

“The alternatives of locking down or releasing all measures is a false one.

“Instead, we would like to see the extension of the current measures – brought into effect on 17th May – and a delay to the full reopening.

“This will help to prevent a further uptick in cases – particularly in areas experiencing high or enduring transmission – and allow time for more people to be vaccinated and protected against the Delta variant.”

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