June 21 is earmarked to be the final stage in the government's roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions.

But so-called 'Freedom Day' is now in doubt as cases of the Delta variant have more than doubled in a week - taking the total number of cases to 42,000.

In England, 39,061 cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus have now been confirmed, along with 3,035 in Scotland, 184 in Wales and 43 in Northern Ireland.

The increase in the overall UK total – from 12,341 last week to 42,323 this week.

The variant is 60 per cent more transmissible than Alpha and is more resistant to vaccines, Public Health England has said. 

The body said the rise in cases is partly driven by a reduction in test turnaround times and a faster process for identifying cases of the variant, Public Health England said

More than 90 per cent of new Covid-19 cases are now the Delta variant, which continues to show a significantly higher rate of growth compared to the Alpha (or Kent) variant, Public Health England said.

New research suggests the Delta variant is associated with an approximately 60 per cent increased risk of household transmission compared with the Alpha variant.

Growth rates for Delta cases are high across all parts of the country, with regional estimates for doubling time ranging from 4.5 days to 11.5 days.