CARBIS BAY, England: Rising COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalisations are a matter of "serious, serious concern", British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday (Jun 12), adding he was less optimistic about reopening the country than he was last month.
"It's clear that the Indian variant is more transmissible and it's also true that the cases are going up, and that the levels of hospitalisation are going up," he told Sky News.
"Now, we don't know exactly to what extent that is going to feed through into extra mortality, but clearly it's a matter of serious, serious concern."
Johnson is expected to set out on Monday whether a planned lifting of coronavirus restrictions can go ahead on Jun 21, or whether rising cases will force it to be delayed.
British media earlier reported that there would be a one-month delay to the lifting of the restrictions. This would push back the easing of restrictions to Jul 19.
The government has always said decisions at each stage of unlocking depend on the data, and earlier this week the prime minister warned about the recent rise in cases.
Britain on Friday reported 8,125 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily total since February, adding that the reproduction "R" number and daily growth rates were also higher in the latest estimates, suggesting the pandemic was growing exponentially.
The country's total COVID-19 death toll is over 127,000 but the number of daily deaths has fallen following a third national lockdown and a rapid vaccine rollout.
More than three-quarters of adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.