More than 90 per cent of coronavirus cases in the UK are the Delta variant, the country’s health minister has said.
Speaking before a parliamentary committee on Thursday, Matt Hancock said the Delta variant, which first originated in India, “now comprises 91 per cent of new cases in the UK”.
Hancock said the data was based on an assessment he had seen on Wednesday evening.
The development comes as the UK contends with a recent rise in COVID-19 cases.
Government figures on Wednesday showed that Britain had recorded its highest daily coronavirus cases since late February, suggesting the Delta variant was spreading rapidly across the country.
A total of 7,540 new infections were recorded, representing the biggest daily increase since February 26.
Meanwhile a total of 123 people entered the hospital with symptoms related to coronavirus, while the number of people who died after testing positive for COVID-19 rose by six.
Earlier this month, Hancock said the UK’s vaccination programme appeared to be helping to break the link between new cases and deaths, with hospitalisations remaining low, despite the spread of the Delta variant.
Hancock told MPs on Thursday that the government was watching “hospitalisation data like a hawk”.
The British government is expected to announce next week whether it will be moving forward with plans to fully lift coronavirus restrictions on June 21.
Hancock said lifting restrictions would largely depend on how the link between COVID cases and hospitalisations evolves.
“The link is falling and the question is how far is it falling and how fast,” he said.