The Indian (Delta) variant of COVID-19 is 40% more transmissible than previous variants, Matt Hancock has told Sky News.

The health secretary said the new variant had made decisions behind the 21 June unlocking of restrictions “more difficult”.

Speaking on the Trevor Phillips On Sunday show, Mr Hancock said: “That figure, around 40% more transmissible, is the latest advice that I have. That means that it is more difficult to manage this virus with the new Delta variant, but crucially we believe that with two doses of the vaccine you get the same protection as the old variant.”

The health secretary also said vaccines would be opened up to under-30s in the next few days.

“This week we will be opening up vaccines to the under-30s and so we are getting a step closer to the point when we’ve been able to offer the vaccine to all adults in this country,” he said.