CORONAVIRUS deaths have today risen by 11 amid fears that the spread of the Indian variant could scupper the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. 

The number of cases has increased by 2,284 – bringing the total to 4,441,975. 

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The increase in fatalities brings the total to 127,640. 

It is the same figure as last week’s toll of 11 – but below the 14 deaths reported a fortnight ago. 

Meanwhile, cases are down slightly on last Wednesday’s figure of 2,511 – and also below the 2,510 infections recorded a fortnight ago. 

It comes as:

  • Experts warned that the Indian variant could be up to 60 per cent more transmissible than the Kent strain
  • The work-from-home order should END next month when lockdown is over, the PM said today
  • New variants pose a 'lethal danger' and could spark the worst Covid wave yet, Boris Johnson warned
  • The government announced a full public inquiry into coronavirus, beginning in Spring 2022
  • A senior minister refused to rule out local lockdowns to crack down on Covid hotspots

Today's figures come as a senior minister warned that lightning lockdowns could be brought back in a bid to stop new variants becoming dominant.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the Government "can't rule out" having to reintroduce local restrictions to squash surges in infections.

But he admitted the return of last year's tiers system would be a last resort because it failed to stop the spread of the virus across the country.

His comments came amid heightened fears over the spread of the Indian variant, with surge testing last week rolled out in Bolton after the discovery of the South African and Indian strain.

Boris Johnson today said the Indian variant is "something we are increasingly concerned about in the UK".

Mr Johnson stressed the need for caution and vigilance as lockdown is eased, with the next step on May 17.

He said "the end of the lockdown is not the end of the pandemic".

"The World Health Organisation has said that the pandemic has now reached its global peak and will last throughout this year," Mr Johnson told the Commons today.

Meanwhile, two new Covid hotspots have emerged despite infections remaining stable nationally.

Erewash in Derbyshire is currently the most infected area in the country, with 232 new cases in the seven days to May 7 – the equivalent of 201.1 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up from 21.7 in the seven days to April 30.

Bolton in Greater Manchester has the second highest rate, up from 74.4 to 152.0, with 437 new cases.

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