Ministers consider diluting plan to relax Covid rules as India variant surges

Health secretary indicates plans for ‘freedom day’ in England on 21 June could be knocked off track

Ministers are considering diluting plans for “freedom day” in England on 21 June and delay the end of all social distancing rules, as new figures showed another sharp increase in the Covid variant first detected in India.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said no announcement would be made until 14 June on whether all restrictions will be lifted a week later, as planned.

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