CORONAVIRUS hospital admissions have surged by more than 500 for the third day in a row – with Freedom Day set to be confirmed tomorrow.
The increasing number, more than 31k infections, comes just over a week until England is set to completely unlock on July 19.
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Coronavirus cases have risen by 31,772, in the last day, bringing the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 5,121,245.
And 26 more fatalities were reported today, down from 34 yesterday, making the grim total 128,425 – and 203 with the last seven days.
This means that there has been a 27.3 per cent rise in cases – and a 66.4 per cent rise in deaths – in the last seven days.
Last Sunday had 24,647 new cases, so today’s new figures are an increase of 7,125.
According to Government data up to July 10, of the 80,646,232 Covid jabs given in the UK so far, 45,881,721 were first doses – a rise of 93,763 on the previous day.
Some 34,764,511were second doses – an increase of 211,446.
Boris Johnson will confirm tomorrow ifFreedom Day will go ahead on July 19 – but has warned Brits to be ultra cautious with their newfound freedom.
After 18 months of unprecedented restrictions, the Prime Minister will defy doom-mongering boffins and confirm he is tearing up the hated lockdown.
But in a marked change of tone, he will drop his promise the lifting is “irreversible” amid warnings they could reimpose restrictions if there is a fourth wave in winter.
It comes as Covid cases continue to rise, with the more transmissible Delta – or Indian – variant to blame for 99 per cent of infections.
But the UK's vaccine rollout has seen the risk of deaths or hospitalisation from the disease tumble.
FREEDOM DAY BECKONS
More than 45 million Brits – or 68 per cent of the population -have been jabbed once and more than 34 million – or 51 per cent of all Brits – have received two doses.
All legal Covid measures are due to end on July 19 – with face masks and social distancing mandates scrapped and mass events permitted.
Quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers returning to the UK from abroad will also be ditched, as will the school bubble system.
But vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has warned Brits will be "expected" to wear masks in indoors and enclosed spaces.
Speaking last week, the PM said masks would become a "personal choice" as he tore up laws making them a legal requirement on buses, trains, and in shops and other indoor venues.
But new guidance to be published on Monday will advise people to wear masks in crowded, indoor settings, Mr Zahawi told Sky News this morning.
Mr Zahawi said: "I think it is important that we remain cautious and careful and the guidelines that we will set out tomorrow will demonstrate that.
"Including guidelines that people are expected to wear masks in indoor, enclosed spaces."
National statistician Prof Sir Ian Diamond, who sits on SAGE, which advises the government, said surveys showed most people would keep wearing masks in some settings.
He told Sky: "We are seeing from our data…that the great majority of people are saying they would continue to wear masks in crowded places."
It comes as left-wing activists were accused of using face masks as a political weapon to try to wreck the PM's back-to-work drive.
Union militants have mounted a bid to halt the plan to lift all Covid restrictions in eight days.
They have warned that workers will be put at risk and are planning a campaign of opposition.
Hard-left Labour MPs have rallied to the cause, demanding Freedom Day is put on hold.
Professor Lucy Easthope of Durham University, who advises the Cabinet Office and specialises in disaster response, told the Sunday Times Britain's final death toll could reach a million.
Experts have warned this month's great unlocking could see infections could hit 100,000 a day.
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