Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government planned to lift all restrictions on July 19.

Mr Javid welcomed encouraging news about Covid-19 vaccine uptake and effectiveness, and praised his predecessor Matt Hancock.

He told the Commons: “I spent my first day as Health Secretary just yesterday looking at the data and testing it to the limit.

“While we decided not to bring forward Step 4, we see no reason to go beyond July 19, because, in truth, no date we choose comes with zero risk for Covid.

“We know we cannot simply eliminate it, we have to learn to live with it.”

Mr Javid said the vaccines were working, including against the Delta variant.

He said: “The latest modelling from PHE shows that they have saved over 27,000 lives and have prevented over seven million people from getting Covid-19.

“Two doses of the vaccine are just as effective against hospital admission with the Delta variant compared to the Alpha variant.

“While cases now are ticking up, the number of deaths remains mercifully low.

“Our aim is that around two-thirds of all adults in this country will have had both doses by 19 July.

“We’re bringing forward second doses and bringing forward our target for first doses too so we can meet that 19 July goal.

“Vaccine uptake remains sky-high. We’ve seen that age is no barrier for enthusiasm for getting the jab.

"As of this weekend, more than half of adults under 30 have taken up the chance to be vaccinated including in the last couple of weeks all three of my own adult children.

“I’m also encouraged by new data just today from Oxford University’s mix and match trial which shows that a mixture of jabs such as getting the AstraZeneca jab first and then the Pfizer second could give our booster vaccination programme more flexibility and possibly even some better immune responses.”

Sajid Javid also praised his predecessor Matt Hancock, telling MPs: “He worked hard throughout all these testing times.

“He has achieved a great amount in the work that he did and I know he will have more to offer in public life – and I wish him the very best.”