Britain yesterday reported a record number of deaths from Covid-19 with 1,610 people dying within 28 days of positive coronavirus test, exceeding the previous peak set last week.
The number was steeply up from the 599 deaths reported in Monday’s official figures. There is often a lag in reporting new deaths after the weekend.
There were 33,355 new cases recorded, down from the 37,535 reported on Monday.
England and Scotland announced new national lockdowns on January 4 in a bid to stem a surge in cases after the discovery of a more transmissible UK variant of the coronavirus late last year. The lockdown has seen new cases come down from a seven-day average peak of around 60,000 new daily cases on January 7, though health officials have warned that the numbers of deaths will rise even as reported cases start to come down.
“Whilst there are some early signs that show our sacrifices are working, we must continue to strictly abide by the measures in place,” said Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England.
“By reducing our contacts and staying at home we will see a fall in the number of infections over time.”
Earlier the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said an estimated 12% of people in England had been infected with coronavirus by December last year, up from 9% in November According to official antibody data released yesterday, one in 10 people in Wales, one in 13 in Northern Ireland and one in 11 in Scotland were also estimated to have caught the virus, according to analysis of random blood test results. Health chiefs have warned intensive care units risk being overwhelmed by the surge in cases.
The Medical Research Council at Cambridge University said last week that it believed the proportion of the population who have ever been infected in London was 30%.
Britain has recorded almost 90,000 deaths of people testing positive for the disease, one of the worst tolls in the world.
Health Minister Matt Hancock, who caught the virus last year, yesterday tweeted that he was self-isolating until Sunday after being told by the health service that he may have come into contact with an infected person.
The government yesterday said it would give Covid-19 shots to up to 2,000 people working in vaccine supply chains, after AstraZeneca requested protection for its workers trying to deliver an ambitious vaccine rollout programme.
AstraZeneca research chief Mene Pangalos last week said that Covid-19 outbreaks were hindering the company’s vaccine workforce, and requested that they were prioritised to receive a shot.
“Highly trained workers who have been identified by the government as being irreplaceable and crucial to the delivery of vaccine supplies will be offered vaccines,” the health ministry said in a statement.
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