UK records zero daily Covid deaths for first time since March 2020

Figure increases pressure on government to abolish restrictions, despite the growing prevalence of the Delta variant

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Explained: UK Covid roadmap's four stages

The UK on Monday recorded no new Covid-19 deaths for the first time since March 7, 2020, adding strength to calls for all restrictions to end as planned on June 21.

UK Prime Minister Johnson has said he will wait for more data on the increasing spread of the newly renamed Delta variant, formerly known as the Indian variant, before announcing on June 14 whether "Freedom Day" can go ahead.

Jobs will be lost in the 85,000 venues of the British hospitality sector if there were a delay to the end of lockdown measures, representatives say.

And a survey from the Night Time Industries Association suggested the future of nine in 10 nightlife businesses was threatened after more than a year of enforced closures.

“It’s devastating for the industry,” said NTIA chief executive Michael Kill. “They feel like they’ve been forgotten.

"They’re at the very sharp end of a long-running roadmap that they’ve watched unfold, to almost feel like they’ve been duped out of their opportunity at the last minute.”

Mr Kill's concerns for his industry are understandable but his words show a confused Covid-19 conversation that treats the economy and public health as separate entities, ignoring their symbiosis.

It also demonstrates the problem with the government's about-face on its pledge to be ruled by data and not dates, a pledge that was made to look like nonsense by the concurrent launch of its latest roadmap to "freedom".

Despite this undoubtedly good news we know we haven't beaten this virus yet

Mr Kill said that working to the dates in the roadmap, 95 per cent of businesses had already committed funds to reopening, including stock, preparing venues and returning workers.

His frustration at the government's contradictory approach will not have been salved by UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock's response to the news of no daily deaths.

"Despite this undoubtedly good news we know we haven’t beaten this virus yet,” Mr Hancock said.

"And with cases continuing to rise, please remember hands, face, space and let in fresh air when indoors, and of course, make sure when you can you get both jabs."

Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, said: “Cases have been rising recently and many people still need to receive either one or two doses of the vaccine."