UK Covid deaths lowest in almost six months as 17 fatalities recorded and 5,342 daily cases

CORONAVIRUS deaths today dropped to their lowest level in almost six months with 17 fatalities recorded.

A further 5,342 infections were recorded, bringing the total to 4,301,925 since the start of the pandemic. 

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Today’s rise in fatalities is the lowest daily total since September 27, when 17 deaths were recorded.

And it is even lower than yesterday's total of 33 – previously the lowest in five months.

It brings the total to 126,172 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Infections are up slightly on last Monday’s total of 5,089, with the increase in deaths far lower than the 64 reported a week ago.

Fatalities are usually lower on a Monday due to a lag in reporting over teh weekend.

It comes as:

  • Boris Johnson has warned Britain will soon ‘feel the effects’ of Europe’s third wave 
  • Every adult in the UK will reportedly be asked to take a test twice a week
  • Brits were warned not book trips abroad this summer amid fears it could risk a fourth lockdown
  • The PM has been urged to lift lockdown up to a month early as cases and hospitalisations continue to fall
  • Wales relaxed lockdown with non-essential shopping aisles opened in supermarkets

Meanwhile, separate figures showed a further 48 deaths in English hospitals, bringing the total to 85,813.

Patients were aged between 48 and 102 and all had known underlying health conditions.

Scotland and Wales, which began to ease lockdown restrictions today, reported no fatalities. 

Northern Ireland recorded just one death, health authorities confirmed.

Elsewhere, a total of 376,006 first doses and 52,612 second doses of the Covid vaccine were given out yesterday.

The figures come amid rising concern over a surge in cases across Europe. 

Boris Johnson today warned that the UK could soon "feel the effects" of the rise in infections across the Continent, after a string of countries were plunged back into lockdown last week.

France, Poland and Italy are among EU nations forced to reimpose restrictions amid soaring cases and a sluggish jab rollout.

Nonetheless, the PM promised to "bash on with the roadmap we set out" – with dates on the easing of lockdown unlikely to change despite Europe's third wave.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has urged the Government to take a cautious approach amid the surge in infections on the continent – but has not called for a change to Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, it was reported at the weekend.

Britain saw a huge rise in cases in late December amid the spread of the Kent variant, which now makes up a significant number of infections in Europe.

HOLIDAY FEARS

Brits have been warned not to book a foreign holiday this summer amid fears that they could prompt a fourth lockdown next winter.

Government advisers are said to be particularly troubled by the spread of new variants such as the South Africa strain, which accounts for 5 to 10 per cent of cases in tourist hotspot France.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) at the University of Leicester, said he did not believe Brits “should be planning on summer holidays abroad until next year”. 

His concerns were echoed by Social Care Minister Helen Whately who said it was  “premature” to consider booking a trip to the Continent – despite Britain's successful jab campaign.

She told BBC Breakfast: “I know everybody feels like it’s time for a holiday. We all need that.

“My advice would be to anybody right now is just to hold off on booking international travel.

“The Prime Minister launched a taskforce to look specifically at international travel. That will be reporting back shortly. It just feels premature to be booking international travel at the moment.”

 

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