Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has warned the live events industry that the country is entering a “period of heightened vigilance” due to the Indian variant of coronavirus.

He said on Twitter: “The crucial road map date for theatres, music venues and sports has always been step 4, so I understand this is an anxious time as we assess the situation over the next couple of weeks.

“We continue to make good progress with the vaccine rollout and with testing the safe return of audiences through the Events Research Programme, but must accept we enter a period of heightened vigilance with the new fast-moving variant.”

For Step 4 of the Roadmap, which will take place no earlier than June 21, the Government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.