Covid-19: Calls to delay lockdown lifting, and Delta variant more spreadable

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday evening. We'll have another update for you tomorrow morning.

1. Delay lockdown lifting, local health leaders say

Lifting the last Covid restrictions in England on 21 June should be delayed to "stop us going backwards", public health officials have said. The Association of Directors of Public Health said unlocking would risk an increase in hospital admissions. The government will make a final decision on whether to unlock on Monday. Concerns about the Delta variant, first identified in India, continue: as of yesterday, if the current rate of increase continued there would be 15,000 cases a day by 21 June.

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2. Delta variant 60% more transmissible than Alpha - PHE

The Delta variant is roughly 60% more transmissible than the Alpha, or Kent, variant and could make people more seriously ill, Public Health England has said. Nearly two-thirds of people infected with the Delta variant, and more than half of those who have died with it, have not had a Covid vaccine at all, the latest official data suggests. The Delta variant is now the dominant variant in the UK, accounting for 90% of cases. Officials stressed that two doses of the vaccine provide "significantly more protection" than one.

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3. Euro 2020 finally kicks off - a year late

Euro 2020 is finally kicking off this evening after it was delayed due to the pandemic (and yes, it decided to keep its somewhat outdated name). Not interested? Check out the football-hater's guide to surviving the tournament, with excellent tips on the best pre-prepared banter. And for those who are interested, watching this year's tournament will look different for many. Covid rules will put paid to packed pubs - owners are being told to risk assess their TV positioning and football commentary volumes. Find out how to watch the games with your friends here.

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4. PM urges leaders to 'build back better' after pandemic

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged fellow leaders to "build back better" as the world recovers from the Covid pandemic, during his opening comments at the G7 summit of world leaders. He earlier pledged to donate more than 100 million Covid vaccines to poorer countries, with US President Joe Biden promising 500 million doses. World Health Organization (WHO) special envoy on Covid-19, Dr David Nabarro, said richer countries giving doses to poorer countries was "not charity, it's self-interest", explaining: "The whole world can only recover if the pandemic is dealt with everywhere."

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5. Parkrun to return - if lockdown easing goes ahead

Parkrun events could soon return in more than 500 locations on 26 June after organisers said they were "fearful for our future". Lots of local authorities have now approved the free 5km events, which were due to resume on 5 June but were delayed after only a third of landowners gave permission. The new restart date is subject to the UK government's coronavirus roadmap announcement on 14 June.

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And there's more...

Our understanding of the virus has evolved throughout the pandemic - check out the latest thinking on how to protect yourself here.

Find further information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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