BORIS Johnson is expected to announce a delay to lockdown lifting in England of up to four weeks amid stark warnings that the country is facing a third wave of the virus.

The Prime Minister said that the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus is a matter of 'serious, serious concern'.

He told Sky News: "It is clear that the Indian variant is more transmissible and it is also true that the cases are going up, and that the levels of hospitalisation are going up.

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"Now, we do not know exactly to what extent that is going to feed through into extra mortality, but clearly it’s a matter of serious, serious concern."

The Government hoped to remove all legal limits on social contact from June 21.

This meant there will no longer be restrictions on how many people you can meet, either indoors or outdoors.

But some social distancing rules may remain in place, and the wearing of masks may still be mandatory in some public places.

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Nightclubs and music venues were set to reopen and larger events were to be allowed to resume without limited crowds.

However, asked if he was less optimistic now than he was at the end of May, he said: "Yes, that is certainly fair.

"What we want to do is make sure that the road map is irreversible, but you can’t have an irreversible road map unless you’re prepared to be cautious.

"Some of the data is still open to question, but we will be making an announcement on Monday."