UK records highest daily COVID-19 cases for over two months

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A man talks with a staff member at an NHS COVID-19 vaccination center in London, Britain, on March 4, 2021. Future vaccines that have been tweaked to deal with new coronavirus variants will be fast-tracked for authorization, Britain's medicines and health care regulator announced Thursday. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

Britain has recorded a further 6,238 coronavirus cases, the highest daily figure for more than two months, according to official figures released Friday.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the country now stands at 4,506,018.

Britain also recorded another 11 coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 127,823. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

Meanwhile, England’s coronavirus reproduction number, also known as the R number, has risen slightly to between one and 1.2. Last week, the figure stood at between one and 1.1.

The latest R number indicates that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 10 and 12 others. When the figure is above one, an outbreak can grow exponentially.

The latest data came as Public Health England (PHE) said the variant of coronavirus first identified in India, known as Delta, is now the “dominant” strain in Britain.

The number of cases of the Delta variant has risen by more than 5,000 since last week to 12,431, according to the latest data from the PHE released Thursday.

PHE officials said that the Delta variant has now overtaken the Kent variant, known as Alpha, as the most dominant in Britain.

There is “early evidence to suggest there may be increased risk of hospitalisation” from Delta, but further data is needed to confirm this, according to the PHE.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that more than three-quarters of adults in Britain have now had their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Nearly 40 million people, or three-quarters of adults in Britain, have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

The British government is facing increasing pressure to delay the final step of unlocking restrictions in England on June 21 due to concerns over the spread of the Delta variant.

From May 17, pubs, bars and restaurants in England were permitted to open indoors, while indoor entertainment resumed, including cinemas, museums and children’s play areas.

People were also allowed to travel abroad to a number of green-list countries without having to quarantine upon return as the ban on foreign travel has also been lifted.

The British government’s roadmap is expected to see all legal limits on social contact to be removed on June 21. It is understood that a final decision on the planned easing of lockdown will not be made until June 14.

Experts have warned that coronavirus may continue to evolve for years to come, and eventually it is likely current vaccines will fail to protect against transmission, infection, or even against disease caused by newer variants.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

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