Lifting the last Covid restrictions in England on June 21 should be delayed to "stop us going backwards", public health officials have said.

This month could see the closest return to "normal life" we have had since the first coronavirus restrictions came into force 15 months ago.

But despite low rates of hospitalisations and deaths, case rates are starting to creep up.

So will lockdown be eased on June 21? This is what we know so far.

What was due to happen on June 21?

The final stage of lifting restrictions would see all legal limits on social contact removed.

Nightclubs would reopen, and restrictions on performances, weddings and other life events would also be lifted.

What we know so far about lockdown easing on June 21

The government is expected to announce on Monday whether it will remove the last of the restrictions a week later.

Unlocking then would risk an increase in hospital admissions, the Association of Directors of Public Health said.

Minister Nadhim Zahawi said it had to be careful not to squander the progress made in tackling the virus.

Concerns about the spread of the Delta variant, first identified in India and now dominant in the UK, have led some scientists to call for a delay to ending lockdown.

The latest official data suggests there have been nearly 30,000 new UK cases of the Delta variant in the past week, accounting for 90 per cent of cases.

Public Health England said nearly two thirds of people infected with the variant have not had a vaccine at all.

Association of Directors of Public Health vice-president Jim McManus told Radio 4's Today programme the government had a "fiendishly difficult decision" to make on whether to ease restrictions further.

However, he said if we "invest that little bit of time to keep us going forwards, it will stop us going backwards".

"If you get enough people infected, you will get a rise in hospitalisations," he said.

He added that the more people getting infected would allow more variants to develop, which could risk a variant developing that evades the vaccine completely.

"So actually, investing a bit of time is really important to enable the vaccine programme to finish and do its job."

Asked about reports in the Times that the government was considering a four-week delay, he said that would be "really welcome".

Latest government figures show that nearly 29 million people in the UK have had both doses of a vaccine - 54.8 per cent of the adult population.

Asked about the government decision on June 14, Mr Zahawi, the vaccines minister, told BBC Breakfast: "We have to be really careful so that those hard won wars against the virus are not squandered."

He reiterated that the government would "share the data on Monday".

"We all know the virus hasn't gone away, it will attempt to mutate," he said. "The Delta variant is more infectious and more severe for those it infects. So, we have to be really careful".

On Thursday the UK reported more than 7,000 new cases for a second day running. The UK last surpassed that figure in late February.

Mr Zahawi said that the UK was on track to offer all those aged over 50 - who had already had a first jab - a second dose by June 21.

He also said no-one in the UK would have to wait longer for a vaccine because of the country's contribution to the global vaccination effort.

Referring to so-called "freedom day" on 21 June, Boris Johnson said on Friday the government had to assess how much the vaccine rollout had "built up enough protection in the population in order for us to go ahead to the next stage".

"That's what we'll be looking at and there are arguments being made one way or the other, but we'll be driven by the data and be looking at that and we'll be setting it out on Monday."