Around 90 percent of new infections are now the Delta variant – which was first recorded in India. Cases are reportedly doubling every nine days and has put the June 21 ‘Freedom Day’ at risk.
Independent SAGE’s Professor Anthony Costello, from of University College London, said the real number of new infections was likely to be twice the 8,000 new daily cases revealed by tests.
He added: “In a month you’ll be up to 100,000 new cases a day.
“If the Government takes a gamble and let’s rip like Tory backbenchers want, the NHS will be overloaded.
“Let’s wait. Let’s stay as we are.”
British Medical Association boss Dr Chaand Nagpaul added: “It’s not just about… hospitalisations, but also the risk to large numbers of younger people, who can suffer long-term symptoms.”
Mr Johnson is set to delay the ending of lockdown until July 19 to allow more people to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus, according to sources.
Cases of the mutant Indian strain have surged by 240 percent in the last week, prompting concern in Downing Street.
Under plans drawn up to be announced on Monday, a two-week review will be included meaning Covid restrictions could be dropped on July 5 if hospitalisations stay down.
Any delay will also give more people in their 40s a window to get their second dose of the vaccine and for it to take effect before restrictions are fully lifted.
However, Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said any delay would be a “huge blow” for families and businesses.
She said: “Any delay would be a huge blow for many families and businesses.
“The fault lies squarely with ministers.
“They continued with a reckless border policy that let the Delta variant reach here and spread.”
Independent SAGE scientists warned schools would have to introduce masks as 136,000 children are now absent.
Due to the UK’s vaccine rollout, fewer patients are ending up in hospital but more are being admitted than released and 55 percent of the country are not fully vaccinated.
The Delta strain from India is 60 percent more transmissible and one injection of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines gives only 33 percent protection against it.
However, Mr Johnson warned the Delta variant is a matter of “serious, serious concern”.
The Prime Minister said: “We don’t know exactly to what extent that will feed through into extra mortality, but clearly it’s a matter of serious, serious concern.
“We want to make sure the roadmap is irreversible, but you can’t have an irreversible roadmap unless you’re prepared to be cautious.
“The scientists are agreed about one thing – they do not think there is any case for going into reverse.”
More to follow…