THE Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to confirm today that the July 19 lifting of all Covid-19 restrictions will go ahead as planned.

Mr Johnson is due to confirm rules on social distancing, mask wearing and limits on businesses will all be binned from next week in the final step of the roadmap out of lockdown.

The decision comes as cases continue to spiral ever higher, driven by the Delta variant; another 31,772 people tested positive yesterday, with weekly infections up 27 per cent to more than 221,000.

A further 26 deaths from Covid were reported yesterday, with weekly deaths at 81, a rise of 66 per cent from the week before, while a further 563 people were admitted to hospital yesterday with Covid-19, and weekly hospitalisations up 1,114 in a week, a 57 per cent rise.

The vaccine roll out has been key to unlocking, and the UK's top scientists have said the vaccination programme has massively reduced the link between infection and serious illness, but has not severed it entirely.

The Prime Minister is set to host a press conference this afternoon while Health Secretary Sajid Javid will announce the plans in Parliament.

The PM said: “We are tantalisingly close to the final milestone in our road map out of lockdown, but the plan to restore our freedoms must come with a warning.

“While the phenomenal vaccine rollout has offered every adult some protection against the virus, and the crucial link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths is weakened, the global pandemic is not over yet.

“Cases will rise as we unlock, so as we confirm our plans today, our message will be clear. Caution is absolutely vital, and we must all take responsibility so we don’t undo our progress, ensuring we continue to protect our NHS.”

There are concerns that the lifting of restrictions will cause further spread of Covid-19, and lead to more hospitaliations and deaths, with the decision to remove the need for face masks entirely proving particularly contentious.

There are also fears that it may lead to increased pressure on the NHS this winter as it deals with Covid patients, the winter flu season, and dealing with a backlog of treatments that have been delayed by the pandemic.