LOCKDOWN restrictions are set to remain in place until July 19 as Covid cases rise and the number of people in hospital increases.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has delayed the lifting of restrictions for up to four weeks - but weddings and wakes with more than 30 people can still go ahead from June 21 as long as social distancing guidelines are followed.

He said second doses of jabs for the over 40s will be accelerated and a new target has been set to give a first dose of the vaccine to everyone over 18 by July 19.

The news comes as it was revealed that the Delta variant is now the dominant strain of the virus in York and cases are rising.

York public health leaders are urging people to book their second dose of the vaccine for eight weeks after the first - saying the vaccine is more effective against the Delta variant if people have had both doses.

The latest provisional rate for the city is 61.7 cases per 100,000 and Fiona Phillips from the public health team warned it is set to rise.

Some restrictions will change on June 21. Some care home residents who go on a visit out of the home will no longer need to isolate for 14 days when they return.

And some pilot events, including Euro 2020 and theatrical productions, will go ahead.

Following the announcement, City of York Council leader Keith Aspden said: “We know this is difficult news for people and businesses who will be most directly impacted by this announcement.

“We know today’s news is frustrating for many who had high hopes for next week, however, there are still reasons to be optimistic."

"The vaccine rollout is continuing successfully and many of our local businesses have reopened safely giving us all the chance to once again enjoy so much that our city has to offer. Hopefully soon, with more people vaccinated, we will be able to take that next step safely."

York Outer MP Julian Sturdy said the delay is disappointing and pledged to continue his "lobbying efforts to bring restrictions to an overdue end", adding: "I anticipate the message from Number 10 and Ministers in their media rounds will be that the delay is merely a few weeks but I know from talking to businesses and constituents that many sadly do not have the luxury of a few extra weeks.

"Businesses are at breaking point having already invested depleted savings to make their premises compliant with restrictions to then have any prospect of profit snatched away as trade is limited for a few extra weeks."

"A grave health crisis is mounting as waiting times for cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other ailments grow by the day as the NHS still must have primary focus only on Covid-19, despite our leading vaccination programme protecting the most vulnerable and cutting hospitalisations by over 80 per cent."

"After over a year of restrictions, I share the frustrations of many this evening as the Prime Minister confirmed that the next stage of his roadmap will be delayed by four weeks.

"The disappointment is only made worse by the rumour, whispers and leaks that have haemorrhaged from Government departments in the preceding days, initially offering hope but quickly extinguishing any optimism of a much-needed return to normality."

He said: "What does need to change now is that we have to learn to live with Covid-19."