Cases are also rising as a consequence of the UK’s cautious reopening after several months under stringent lockdown rules.
After an initial delay, the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown hit its final stage on July 19, with the end of most legal restrictions on social contact in England including mandatory mask wearing and limits on social gatherings.
Outdoor dining and small gatherings have been permitted since April 12, whilst controlled indoor gatherings had been permitted since May 17.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged caution on the eve of restrictions lifting in England.
“If we don’t do it now we’ve got to ask ourselves, when will we ever do it?” he asked in a video message posted on Twitter on Sunday, July 18.
“But we’ve got to do it cautiously. We’ve got to remember that this virus is sadly still out there. Cases are rising, we can see the extreme contagiousness of the Delta variant.”