THE UK is “dealing with” an outbreak of monkeypox, Matt Hancock has revealed.

The health secretary did not give any details of where cases were, or how many. But The Sun has been told there are two cases in North Wales.

The first case caught the virus abroad before passing it onto someone in the same house.

They were admitted to a hospital in England, where one remains.

Both are being monitored by Public Health Wales and Public Health England.

The cases would be only the fifth and sixth cases ever recorded in the UK.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates…

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    UK 'NOT GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION' ON COVID, GOVERNMENT HEALTH ADVISER HAS WARNED

    The UK is not going in the right direction on coronavirus cases as infections rise across the country, a Government health chief has warned.

    Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the newly created UK Health Security Agency, said that modelling data suggests there will be a further rise in Covid-19 cases in the coming weeks.

    However, she stressed it was still too early to make a decision on ending lockdown on June 21 and it will take another week before a clearer picture emerges.

    It comes as the latest data from Public Health England (PHE) shows case rates in England have risen among almost all age groups, with the highest rate among 20 to 29-year-olds.

    Speaking on a Royal Society of Medicine webinar Dr Harries said: "We are progressing, probably as a country, not quite in the right direction that we would all want to."

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    IRELAND'S BIGGEST HOSPITAL HAS NO COVID PATIENTS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN

    Ireland's biggest hospital has no patients with Covid-19 for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, the HSE chief executive has said.

    Paul Reid said it was "remarkable" that St James's Hospital in Dublin has no Covid patients after dealing with a high number of cases earlier this year.

    "It grew rapidly during January and February," Mr Reid said.

    "But we must always remain cautious. We don't need to look much further than the UK and much further back than yesterday when they had over 7,500 cases.

    "On our vaccination programme, it continues at a really great pace.

    "There are now over 3.1 million vaccines administered and over 2.2 million people have received their first dose.

    "Over 1.1 million people have received a second dose and are fully vaccinated, so about 26% of people are fully vacc

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    GOVERNMENT NOT INTENDING TO OPEN UP TRAVEL TO EUROPE UNTIL JULY

    Quarantine-free travel to the UK from mainland Europe or the US will not be permitted before late July, an industry expert has warned.

    The reopening of travel had been "sacrificed by ministers watching their backs", Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said.

    Charles was among leading figures in the sector who expressed outrage when Portugal was moved to the amber list last week, as it meant no viable major tourist destination was in the green tier.

    Portugal and other countries such as Malta, Morocco and Grenada should be on the green list but decisions on restrictions were "highly political, not based on data at all", Charles claimed.

    People arriving in the UK from a green tier country are not required to self-isolate, while amber arrivals must quarantine at home for 10 days.

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    ORDERING EARLIER LOCKDOWN WOULD HAVE BEEN AGAINST SCIENTIFIC ADVICE, MATT HANCOCK SAYS

    Matt Hancock has said he was aware at the start of the pandemic that 820,000 people could die from Covid-19 but that ordering an earlier lockdown would have meant going against scientific advice.

    The Health Secretary was being questioned over allegations made by the Prime Minister’s former aide, Dominic Cummings, to the Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee.

    Mr Hancock told MPs he had “no idea” why Mr Cummings had a dispute with him, but had later become aware that he had wanted him fired.

    Asked why the Government had missed for six to eight weeks early in 2020 the signs that the death toll could be large, the Cabinet minister said: “Well, I would absolutely say that we knew about this problem from the start.

    “And the challenge in those early weeks of March was making a massive judgment – probably the most significant judgment that any Prime Minister has made in, certainly in peacetime, based on incomplete information, and a great pace.”

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    UK RECORDS MORE THAN 7K COVID CASES FOR THE SECOND DAY IN A ROW

    The UK Covid-19 cases keep soaring for the second day in a row as more than 7,000 cases are recorded while the Indian variant takes hold.

    Official statistics released this afternoon show seven people have died and 7,393 have tested positive across Britain in the past 24 hours.

    It comes as yesterday the highest number of cases was recorded with 7,540 people testing positive and six deaths.

    There has been a significant rise in the number of cases since last week when 5,274 cases were recorded.

    The UK last saw a similar rise on December 22, when cases almost doubled to 36,000 in seven days.

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    MATT HANCOCK SAYS COMMUNITY TESTING ENDED EARLY OVER CONCERNS ABOUT CAPACITY AND RELIABILITY

    Matt Hancock said community testing ended early in the pandemic because there was not sufficient testing capacity and there were concerns over false negatives.

    The Health Secretary said: “Testing was at no point scaled down, on the contrary, we were driving up testing capacity all the way through.”

    But he accepted community testing ceased early in the pandemic and said he was not advised in the run-up to the first lockdown whether expanding community testing was an option.

    “Unlike other countries we did not go into this with a testing capacity. So one of the reasons we had to reduce the use of community testing is because we didn’t have a big enough capacity and we had to target the testing at where it’s clinically most needed,” Mr Hancock said.

    “The second point, which is really important here, is that the clinical advice I received is that testing people asymptomatically would lead to false negatives.”

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    MATT HANCOCK DODGES QUESTION OVER TESTING IN CARE HOMES

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock dodged answering whether he told the Cabinet people would be tested for Covid before being returned to care homes.

    Speaking while being grilled by MPs over his conduct during the first days of the pandemic, Hancock said: “We set out a policy that people would be tested when tests are available and then I set out building capacity”.

    He added that: “I have got out of bed in the morning with the view that my job is to save lives and get this country out of the pandemic.

    “I’ve tried to do that with honesty and integrity”.

    He was answering the explosive accusations by former No 10 adviser Dominic Cummings that he should have been fired for lying “at least 20 times”.

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    DOUBLE DOSE

    Covid cases have more than doubled in one week as a growing epidemic in the young and unvaccinated becomes clearer.

    It is estimated there are currently 11,908 new cases every day compared to 5,677 reported last week – an increase of 110 per cent.

    In terms of prevalence, on average one in 543 people in the UK currently have symptomatic disease, according to data from the Zoe Covid Symptom Study app.

    But there is a clear divide between the younger and older generations, mirrored by unvaccinated versus vaccinated.

    Cases have increased the most in those in their 20s, with around 450 active cases per 100,000.

    It compares to 250 per 100,000 in the 40s group and 70 per 100,000 in the 50s.

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    MATT HANCOCK SAYS HE "ABSOLUTELY" PROTECTED NHS STAFF

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs it "saddens me enormously" that around 1,500 people from health and social care have lost their lives during the pandemic.

    Asked if he protected NHS staff, he said: "Absolutely. We did everything we possibly could. And not only that but we protected the NHS so the provision was there for patients as much as possible, and we provided the PPE as we've discussed…"

    Mr Hancock said he agreed with MPs regarding the "inexcusable nature of any attempt to use Do Not Resuscitate orders without consent" across social care and the NHS, and issued guidance to say that could not happen.

    Asked if it was a mistake not to take on board advice from the care sector which was warning that people should not be discharged to care homes without a Covid test, Mr Hancock said: "We strengthened the advice we got from the care sector throughout the pandemic."

    He said the views of the care sector were taken on board early on in the pandemic but a full-scale consultation was not possible.

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    WATCH: INDIAN DEATH TOLL TOPS 350,000

    India tops 350,000 coronavirus deaths as deadly Covid-linked black fungus brings nation to its knees

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    MATT HANCOCK SAYS EARLY PANDEMIC RESPONSE HAMPERED BY LACK OF INFORMATION FROM CHINA

    Matt Hancock has said the early response to the pandemic was hampered by the lack of information coming out of China.

    "One of the things that hindered our early response was a lack of transparency from China. That must be put right in terms of future preparedness for future pandemics," he said.

    "It is absolutely vital for the world that China is more transparent about its health information as soon it understands there are problems."

    He said that some south-east Asian countries which were better prepared when the pandemic broke have suffered from previous outbreaks of Sars and Mers.

    "Here that shock in around 2009 was not heeded as much as it should have been," he said.

    He added: "It is harder in a democracy to take some of the steps that some of the authoritarian countries took."

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    UK COVID HOSPITAL CASES RISE ABOVE 1,000

    More than a thousand people are in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK as scientists warn of the risks of a third wave in the face of the Delta variant.

    More than a thousand people are in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK as scientists warn of the risks of a third wave in the face of the Delta variant.

    The figure is also 74 per cent higher than a week ago when 4,330 infections were reported.

    Today’s figures also show deaths have risen by six – bringing the total number to 127,860.

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    UK’S PPE COSTS AROUND £6.7m A WEEK, SAYS HEALTH ADVISER

    Sir Chris Wormald, Permanent Secretary to the Department of Health and Social Care, told MPs that it currently costs around £6.7 million PER WEEK to store the UK’s stock of personal protective equipment (PPE).

    “The current situation – we have bought approximately 32 billion items of PPE during the pandemic, to a cost of approximately £15 billion,” he told the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

    “Of those, 11.7 billion items have been distributed to the front line so far, 12.6 billion are held in the UK as central stock, and 8.4 billion is not yet in the UK, it’s on order from other parts of the world.

    “I think today’s number, and of course these numbers go up and down, it’s costing us approximately £6.7 million a week to store our central stock of PPE.

    “Now that has been falling quite fast, the equivalent number for January 21 was £11.6 million, so we’ve been making some considerable efficiencies on storage, but it remains a large cost.”

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    MATT HANCOCK DENIES HE USED SCIENCE AS A SHIELD FOR COVID MISTAKES

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has denied a claim by Dominic Cummings that he used the phrase “we follow the science” to shift blame for government failures.

    The former No 10 adviser claimed he heard Hancock tell the prime minister they could say they were misled by the science whenever they made mistakes in their Covid response.

    But Hancock hit back claiming he tried to avoid using that phrase and had even defied scientific advice at the start of the pandemic by forcing people to isolate when they returned from Wuhan in February and March 2020.

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    GREECE SOON TO JOIN GREEN LIST, CLAIMS AMBASSADOR

    Greece will “soon be on the green list,” the UK ambassador to Greece has claimed.

    Ambassador Kate Smith predicted that it will be removed from the amber list due to the improving Covid situation in the country.

    She made the claims during a live webinar yesterday, echoed by Greek Minister of Tourism, Haris Theocharis who said declining cases and increased airport measures would open up tourism soon.

    Following a spike in cases in April, daily Covid rates in Greece have fallen again with 1,368 new cases reported yesterday.

    The country has also given the first vaccine dose to nearly 40 per cent of the population – while further behind the UK, Greece hopes to have all of the holiday islands fully jabbed by the end of the month.

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    ORDERING EARLIER LOCKDOWN WOULD HAVE BEEN AGAINST SCIENTIFIC ADVICE, MATT HANCOCK SAYS

    Matt Hancock has said he was aware at the start of the pandemic that 820,000 people could die from Covid-19 but that ordering an earlier lockdown would have meant going against scientific advice.

    The Health Secretary was being questioned over allegations made by the Prime Minister's former aide, Dominic Cummings, to the Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee.

    Mr Hancock told MPs he had "no idea" why Mr Cummings had a dispute with him, but had later become aware that he had wanted him fired.

    Asked why the Government had missed for six to eight weeks early in 2020 the signs that the death toll could be large, the Cabinet minister said: "Well, I would absolutely say that we knew about this problem from the start.

    "And the challenge in those early weeks of March was making a massive judgment – probably the most significant judgment that any Prime Minister has made in, certainly in peacetime, based on incomplete information, and a great pace."

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    MATT HANCOCK DENIES HE WAS TOLD PEOPLE WERE NOT GETTING PROPER COVID TREATMENT

    Matt Hancock insisted he was never advised that the public was not getting the coronavirus treatment they required, denying a claim by Dominic Cummings.

    The Health Secretary said: “I did absolutely say both in private and in public that everybody got the Covid treatment that they needed and I’m very proud of the fact that, with the NHS, we delivered on that during the pandemic because it was critical.

    “There was no point at which I was advised, and I’ve taken the trouble to check with the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser, there was no point at which I was advised that people were not getting the treatment they needed.

    “On the contrary, one of the things that we succeeded in doing in the entire response to this pandemic is to protect the NHS so that people have always had access to treatment for Covid.”

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    WATCH: BORIS JOHNSON TO ASK G7 FOR VACCINES FOR POORER COUNTRIES

    Boris Johnson to ask G7 leaders for a BILLION vaccines for world’s poorest

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    WHO WARNS DELTA VARIANT COULD TAKE HOLD IN EUROPE

    The World Health Organization's Europe director warned that the highly transmissible Covid-19 variant first identified in India is "poised to take hold in the region," as many countries prepare to ease restrictions and allow more social gatherings and travel across borders.

    During a press briefing on Thursday, WHO's Dr. Hans Kluge said the variant also known as the delta variant, has shown signs of being able to evade some vaccines and warned that many vulnerable populations, particularly those over age 60, remain unprotected.

    "We have been here before," warned Kluge, WHO's European regional director. "Over the course of last summer, cases gradually rose in younger age groups and then moved into older age groups, contributing to a devastating resurgence," he said. Kluge said that spike in Covid-19 ultimately led to more lockdowns and deaths in the fall and winter of 2020. "Let's not make that mistake again."

    Kluge didn't say people shouldn't travel, but urged any travelers to do so wisely. He also called for vaccination and other public health measures to be stepped up across the continent, saying even immunization coverage "is far from sufficient to protect the region."

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    MORE THAN 25,000 PEOPLE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 IN ENGLAND OVER THE PAST WEEK

    A total of 25,091 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to June 2, up 45% on the previous week, according to the latest Test and Trace figures.

    It is the highest number of people testing positive since the week to March 31.

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    "EVERY DEATH IN A CARE HOME WEIGHS HEAVILY ON ME", SAYS HANCOCK

    When asked by MPs about his claim about "trying to put a protective ring" around care homes during the pandemic, Matt Hancock said "trying is the operative word".

    He said: "It was very hard.

    "Each and every death in a care home weighs heavily on me and always will. "

    He said the Department of Health "did not have the levers" to act to protect care homes such as not having the right data about the number of homes in the country.

     

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    UK'S PPE COSTS AROUND £6.7m A WEEK, SAYS HEALTH ADVISER

    Sir Chris Wormald, Permanent Secretary to the Department of Health and Social Care, told MPs that it currently costs around £6.7 million PER WEEK to store the UK's stock of personal protective equipment (PPE).

    "The current situation – we have bought approximately 32 billion items of PPE during the pandemic, to a cost of approximately £15 billion," he told the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

    "Of those, 11.7 billion items have been distributed to the front line so far, 12.6 billion are held in the UK as central stock, and 8.4 billion is not yet in the UK, it's on order from other parts of the world.

    "I think today's number, and of course these numbers go up and down, it's costing us approximately £6.7 million a week to store our central stock of PPE.

    "Now that has been falling quite fast, the equivalent number for January 21 was £11.6 million, so we've been making some considerable efficiencies on storage, but it remains a large cost."

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    DOMINIC CUMMINGS HAS NOT PROVIDED EVIDENCE FOR CLAIMS, SCIENCE COMMITTEE CHAIR SAYS

    Science and technology select committee chairman Greg Clark said Dominic Cummings has failed to provide evidence to back up his claims, nor has he given an explanation as to why it has not been forthcoming.

    Clark said a deadline of last Friday had been set for the evidence the former No 10 aide touted so it could inform the questioning of Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

    But he said: "We have not received that evidence nor any explanation as to why that has not been available.

    "It's important that if serious allegations are made against an individual, they should be corroborated with evidence and it must be counted as unproven without it."

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    MATT HANCOCK SAYS COMMUNITY TESTING ENDED EARLY OVER CONCERNS ABOUT CAPACITY AND RELIABILITY

    Matt Hancock said community testing ended early in the pandemic because there was not sufficient testing capacity and there were concerns over false negatives.

    The Health Secretary said: "Testing was at no point scaled down, on the contrary, we were driving up testing capacity all the way through."

    But he accepted community testing ceased early in the pandemic and said he was not advised in the run-up to the first lockdown whether expanding community testing was an option.

    "Unlike other countries we did not go into this with a testing capacity. So one of the reasons we had to reduce the use of community testing is because we didn't have a big enough capacity and we had to target the testing at where it's clinically most needed," Mr Hancock said.

    "The second point, which is really important here, is that the clinical advice I received is that testing people asymptomatically would lead to false negatives."

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    BORIS HAS DROPPED BIGGEST HINT YET THAT JUNE 21 MIGHT BE PUSHED BACK

    Striking a gloomy tone, the PM warned cases and hospitalisations were creeping up in parts of the country – and refused to commit to unlocking in two weeks.

    It is the first time in weeks he hasn’t said there remains “nothing in the data” that risks derailing the roadmap.

    Speaking as he touched down in Cornwall for the G7, he said: “On Monday… we’ll have a look at where we are.

    “I think what everybody can see very clearly is that cases are going up, and in some cases hospitalisations are going up.

    “What we need to assess is the extent to which the vaccine rollout, which has been phenomenal, has built up protection in the population in order for us to go ahead to the next stage. And so that’s what we’ll be looking at.”

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