How worrying is the India coronavirus variant for UK plans to unlock this summer?

Monday’s change in the rules was supposed to be a moment of celebration – but the new variant spreading in the UK meant it came with a cautionary note. Can the next stage of the government’s ‘irreversible’ plan go ahead?

This time last week, most of us were feeling optimistic about the next step in the government’s “irreversible” plan to end lockdown. Then scientists started to warn that the accelerating spread of the India variant of coronavirus meant that we should proceed carefully – and even consider slowing down.

While the plans went ahead on Monday, they came with a heavy dose of caution and warnings that the last stage of the relaxation set for 21 June could be delayed. The Guardian’s science correspondent Nicola Davis tells Anushka Asthana about the latest setback in the fight against Covid – and what it means for what happens next.

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