Matt Hancock was grilled by MPs at the House of Commons this evening, after Boris Johnson delayed the easing of lockdown restrictions in England for up to four weeks. It was “sensible to wait just a little longer” and potentially until 19 July, the PM said, as the Delta variant of coronavirus surges.
The health secretary batted away repeated questions on issues such as the government’s reasoning for adding India to the red travel list weeks after less at-risk nations.
Other criticism came from ministers angry over Mr Johnson’s decision to speak to the press about the delay of easing before Parliament, and the confirmation of furlough ending despite many people’s back-to-work date being pushed due to the new July relaxation target.
Meanwhile, analysis showed England’s rate of new infections had climbed to its highest level since 2 March. Some 37,729 new infections were recorded in England in the seven days to 9 June, according to Public Health England (PHE).
PHE also reported that the UK had logged 7,742 new infections in just the last 24 hours – the highest one-day tally since February.