The UK has recorded another 22,868 new cases of Covid-19, the highest daily count since January 30.
A further three people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of today, bringing the UK total to 128,103.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 153,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
Cases have been steadily rising since the beginning of May, having reduced down from a peak of 68,053 on January 8.
The increase has been attributed to a new and more infectious Delta variant, first identified in India.
Despite the increase in cases, new health secretary Sajid Javid has said July 19 will be the ‘end of the line’ for coronavirus restrictions in the UK.
In a speech to the House of Commons today, he said we had to be realistic that we would not eliminate Covid-19 and would have to find a way to live with it.
But he was optimistic the lockdown would be lifted as planned next month, meaning limits of social contacts would end.
The milestone would be ‘the start of an exciting new journey’ for the country, he said.
Boris Johnson earlier said he was confident that July 19 would be the ‘terminus date’ for when the nation can ‘go back to life as it were before Covid’ as much as possible.
Following talks with his new health secretary, the PM said it is ‘sensible’ to stick to the planned date and dismissed lifting restrictions any earlier, highlighting a recent ‘quite big’ increase in cases.
The PM told broadcasters on Monday: ‘So what I’m saying to people, is it’s just another few more weeks to get those jabs in and then I think there is really an increasingly good chance – a very good chance indeed – that July 19 will be the terminus date.’
But Downing Street was quick to insist that any decisions made on lifting restrictions would be driven by ‘data not dates’.
Meanwhile, Portugal, Spain, Malta and Hong Kong have announced new restrictions on UK tourists amid growing concern over the variant.
The Portuguese government imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement on arrivals from the UK who are not fully vaccinated.
This puts UK holidaymakers in the same risk category as those from South Africa, Brazil, India and Nepal.
Previously, UK visitors were exempt from quarantine if they had evidence of a recent negative coronavirus test.