Shock graph shows need to delay unlocking as Delta surge in North West 'sign of things to come'

A SHOCKING graph has revealed why the next stage of lockdown has to be postponed as cases of the Delta variant surge in the North West.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson this evening revealed that the June 21 'Freedom Day' would be pushed back by four weeks.

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Addressing the nation alongside the PM, England's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty this evening warned that the rate of increase in the North West is a sign of what's to come across the rest of the country.

He said that while the rates in the region were not "immediately overwhelming the NHS" if restrictions were eased, then issues could arise.

Prof Whitty explained that one of the tests for easing restrictions would be that it didn't mean the NHS would be under more pressure.

Prof Whitty said: "The rates of hospitalisations at the moment are low in all parts of the country but, this is the important but on this test, what we are seeing is a rapid rise.

"Particularly marked where it first really started in the North West of the country, but the rest of the country is following.

"There has been a 64 per cent increase since last week and in terms of the North West and a 64 per cent increase in England and that rate will follow where the North West has led."

He explained that the numbers are still relatively low, but in just two weeks the spread could "take off rapidly".

Prof Whitty said that the Alpha variant (Kent variant) had been dominant in the UK and that the Delta variant (Indian variant) had now taken over.

He said: "The B117 Alpha variant had dominated until recently, it was on a downward path and has stabilised in recent weeks.

"If this was the variant we were dealing with then we would continue on current path.

"Alpha is going down and the Delta variant is going up and going up exponentially.

"This is the reason why the assessment of risk has shifted", he added.

The PM tonight explained that a short delay in loosening restrictions would prevent thousands of deaths and buy extra time for more Brits to be double jabbed.

He warned that there were "millions of younger adults who have not been vaccinated" – but revealed that 23 and 24-year-olds could book jabs from tomorrow.


And he warned that "sadly", some elderly and vulnerable may still get ill, even if they have had two jabs.

In a glimmer of good news Mr Johnson was bullish about only needing to hold off for for weeks – and stressed there was no need to slam into reverse.

And brides and grooms were also given a much-needed boost as the PM scrapped the 30-guest cap on weddings.

Boris said he would review the data again on June 28 – and suggested that could be eased early on July 5 if the Covid outlook improves, but that was unlikely.

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